A Stroudsburg teacher is in desperate need of a kidney transplant.
And students are sharing his lesson in compassion.
They’re stepping up to both get the word out and be a donor.
Jeff Zimmerman is use to sharing his passion for learning as a biology teacher at Stroudsburg Junior High School, but he isn’t used to asking for help.
Stroudsburg Schol District Superintendent Cosmas Curry says, "He’s a trooper. I mean he’s here every day and he’s doing a great job in the classroom. I was in his classroom last week and I’m thrilled with what I’m seeing."
Zimmerman started in this classroom about 20 years ago and around the same time was diagnosed with kidney disease. Just recently he found out he needs a new kidney to save his life.
Zimmerman explains, "I’m at stage four kidney failure. It all happened in the spring, things got pretty hectic in the spring, I had some medical conditions."
Zimmerman’s wife started a Facebook page to spread the word called "Jeff’s Journey." His family, the Stroudsburg community and the football community in Easton where he coaches middle schoolers are all rallying behind him.
Curry says, "I speak on behalf of our students, faculty, administration and staff, we’re all concerned. He’s a great teacher, he makes the subject matter come alive, he’s well respected by his students, he’s liked by his peers."
But finding a kidney for a transplant isn’t easy. Right now there’s over 100 thousand people on a waiting list for a deceased kidney. That’s why it’s so important to volunteer to be an organ donor on your driver’s license. The other option to save someone’s life is by being a living donor, which the Zimmerman family is hoping to find.
Zimmerman says, "You can live with one kidney so if you have two healthy kidneys, and that’s easy for me to say because I’m not in the situation to do it, but if you have two healthy kidneys, there are so many people like myself who are in need. It’s just outstanding to help each other out."
Former students have embraced the cause and can’t say enough about him. Post after post shares how he’s inspired and helped them succeed. Some are even signing up to be his donor.
Zimmerman says, "When I see names, it brings me back to that class. I can actually picture where they sit. I can picture their smiling faces and everything they’ve said so it brings back a lot so I don’t want them to stop emailing me and texting me because it brings me up when I’m having a bad day. Just the love that these students have shown is amazing."
Zimmerman is thankful for all of the support. If you’re interested in seeing if you’re a match, just visit the Temple Health website or call 215-707-8889 and say it’s for Geoffrey Zimmerman. But you can also help just by sharing his story on Facebook.