When Teacher Learns Age 10 Girl Is Dying of Kidney Failure, She Becomes Her Donor


It often seems like the most serious of medical conditions catch us by surprise. It’s difficult to predict when these life-altering events will occur.

In March of 2017, 10-year-old Eva Brown of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, faced a very serious illness out of the blue.

Eva’s face began to swell after eating Japanese food. Her mother, Alana Brown, quickly took her to the hospital, initially believing Eva was experiencing an allergic reaction. However, 45 minutes after her trip to the hospital, Eva’s face began to swell once again.

Testing revealed that Eva’s kidneys were failing, functioning at a shockingly low 4% efficiency. If her mother waited any longer to have brought her to the hospital, Eva could have died in a matter of days.

“I cannot even describe to you, it shook my faith, and I was just on the verge of a breakdown,” Alana said. “We didn’t understand what was being told to us, we didn’t know, is my child gonna die?”

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Eva was eventually diagnosed with collapsing focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which is a condition that causes scarring on the kidney tissue. The condition could lead to hypertension, edema, and ultimately, renal failure.

In need of a kidney donor but unable to find a match, Eva had to be hooked up to a dialysis machine every night at her home for ten hours at a time.

“It’s usually like a twelve to fifteen-hour process because there’s an hour to set-up beforehand, then you have to get all her vitals, and while it’s a ten-hour process, that’s only if there are no alarms,” Alana said. “But alarms go off all through the night, so you have to wake up, fix whatever the issue is, reset the machine, restart the machine, and then continue with that process.”

Eva also had to take about 20 to 30 pills a day — an exhausting process for anyone, let alone a young girl.

Alana, who had to stop working in order to care for her daughter, took to Facebook to reach out to potential donors. One person, Tanya Thomas, stuck out during the process.

Thomas followed through with the tests after responding to the Facebook post, and she soon figured out that she was, in fact, a match for young Eva.

What Alana didn’t know, however, was that Tanya Thomas was a teacher at Slate Ridge Elementary, where young Eva attended school.

“I immediately started crying and wrapped my arms around her,” Alana said after meeting Tanya. “My jaw just dropped.”

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Both Tanya and Eva want others to view their story as an example of selflessness and inspiration.

“Tanya wanted to make it clear that God gets all the glory, she did this because God told her to, and she wants to help bring awareness to others to be living donors,” Alana said. “It’s a message that she and Eva share.”

Tanya Thomas’ selfless decision to be a donor to young Eva is one that remains an inspiration to us all. She stepped in during the Brown family’s time of need, and they couldn’t be more grateful.

“We were desperate, and God answered our prayers,” Alana said. “Everything that Eva does now, Tanya’s always going be a part of that.”

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Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a major in English, minors in both Writing and Communication Studies, and a Technical Writing concentration. She is currently working on designing and writing a book of poetry to financially support a new homeless ministry of Grove City, PA called Beloved Mercy Ministry. In her spare time, she loves to sing, play piano, exercise, traverse cities, and find the cutest coffee shops. She also has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Philadelphia, PA
Scholarship of Academic Achievement and Moral Character
Grove City College
Grove City, PA
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
Visual Design, Document Design, Technical Communication, Literature, Computer Ethics