Local elementary teacher celebrates organ donor

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 10:14 PM PDT
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SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - Donor Remembrance Day is Friday, April 30, 2021. One local elementary teacher is honoring hers after receiving a life-saving organ donation five years ago.

“This is my 20th year of teaching! It’s such a fulfilling job.”

Amy Camacho, Organ Donor Recipient and Elementary School Teacher

Amy Camacho is living out her dream as a teacher at Van Gorder Elementary School. But it wasn’t an easy path to get here.

“I was diagnosed with diabetes about 21 days before I turned 10, so that kind of rocks your world a little bit,” Camacho said.

After years of living with the disease, she went in for a routine appointment. That’s when her doctor noticed something wasn’t right with her kidneys.

Camacho added, “He said ‘probably in a few years you’re going to need a kidney transplant.’”

Shocked, anxious, and unsure of what was next, Amy was placed on an organ donor waiting list. She stayed there for nine months until good news came.

“April of 2016 I got the phone call,” Camacho said.

She received a match, packed her bags, and headed to Stanford for the transplant.

“He was from San Francisco, his name was Noah, and he was 25 at the time.”

Amy Camacho, Organ Donor Recipient and Elementary School Teacher

Amy received both of Noah’s kidneys and his pancreas. She was even able to meet his parents.

Camacho added, “I don’t know that ‘thank you’ is ever enough. They lost their son, they lost part of their family, and so for me to get to live life, I’m so thankful for the gift of life and the gift of time that he chose and they chose to give me.”

Five years later, Amy is more positive than ever and continues to teach. She’s celebrating her donor this year by planting “forget-me-not” flowers in his memory.

“I think of Noah every day,” Camacho said. “I was meant to have Noah’s organs and we were just meant to be a family.”

She hopes her story inspires others to consider the life-saving benefits being a donor can have.

“You’re giving the gift of life and time for somebody. I wouldn’t be here without that.”

Amy Camacho, Organ Donor Recipient and Elementary School Teacher

Right now, there are nearly 600 Nevadans on the organ waiting list, according to Donor Network West.

If you would like to become a donor, click here.

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