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Math Teacher Adopts Homeless 7th Grader Who Needs Kidney Transplant




  • Thirteen-year-old Damien has been in and out of the foster care system
  • He’s been battling kidney failure since the age of 8
  • The 7th grader could not get into the kidney transplant list because he’s homeless
  • Damien’s Math teacher steps in

Thirteen-year-old Damien has been bouncing from one home to another all his life. Being a young kid who has battled kidney failure since he was eight years old, giving him the care he needs can prove too much for all the people that he had been with. And being a kid who really doesn’t have a home, this also puts him way below the waiting list for a kidney.

Transplant patients need to have a stable home to be able to get a good spot in the waitlist. That is not happening for Damien. However, his math teacher, Finn Lanning, isn’t going to sit around and do nothing.

The hope for a new kidney is almost lost for Damien.

Damien’s condition is so severe and there seems to be no hope of getting him on that list – unless he gets to be in a real home. Lanning heard that Damien had to quit school and live in the hospital to get dialysis while waiting for the kidney. He thought he just couldn’t let Damien be in that unfortunate situation.

“When you’re living in the hospital you’re not able to be on the transplant list because folks who don’t have stable housing are considered high risk for their organ not to work.”

Lanning decided to adopt him and give him the home he deserves. The orphan teen has been adopted and has since moved to Lanning’s place. He is also already at the top of the kidney transplant waiting list.

Damien joined Lanning’s math class in September when he was still living with a relative.
Photo Credit: GoFundMe

Lanning saw that then-new student was a diligent and very bright kid. However, the teacher was surprised that he won’t get to see him in the coming semester. Lanning learned that Damien had to be back in the foster care system.

Anyone who has gone through a transplant will need a routine of medications – and for that, a strong support system is needed. This person will be the one to bring the patient back in for follow-up checkups. Also, this person needs to be with the patient for the long term. After all, being a recipient for a kidney transplant means long-term treatment.

Clearly, Damien didn’t have a strong support system. He didn’t have a home. He didn’t have anyone who can be with him for the long-term and commit to bringing him to regular hospital visits – until Lanning came to the picture.

Lanning offered himself to be Damien’s support system.
Photo Credit: FOX

Lanning made himself learn about caring for a child who needs to be on a dialysis machine at home for hours and a very strict diet. It will be difficult but Lanning will get the help he needs from the community.

He has started a GoFundMe account in February to raise the funds he needs for his new teenage son. The campaign has raised over $69,000 as of this writing. On his fundraising campaign, Lanning wrote:

‘Damien deserves, at the very least, to have a place he can call home, and these funds will make furnishing our home possible.”

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