On April 17, 2020, Governor Reynolds announced that all Iowa school building shall be closed for the remainder of the academic year due to COVID-19.

The Lesson of Kindness

Tricia meeting Dave for the first time. Math, reading and science lessons. It’s expected that these lessons are taught in an elementary school and it’s sometimes easy for elementary students to draw connections to their learning in these lessons and real life.  But what about soft skills like kindness and thinking about others before yourself?  Those life lessons are equally important to teach students and a “let’s do it” decision by Grant Wood teacher, Tricia Weber, to donate her kidney to a stranger is the perfect example of helping others and showing kindness. One she says she would do again in a heartbeat.

Tricia Weber is glad to be back teaching her 4th and 5th grade combined class at Grant Wood Elementary School after taking the month of December off for the kidney transplant and her recovery. She says, “Looking back, it was the right thing to do!”

On November 30, 2017, Weber donated a kidney to a former colleague’s father.

 “Jesse Gosch was an associate in my room. She was a one-on-one [paraprofessional] for probably 3 or 4 months. I didn’t really have a close relationship with her at that time. She was pretty one-on-one with her student and they were in and out a lot,” says Weber. “Then after she left, I found out that her dad had been sick and needed a kidney transplant.”

Tricia with Dave, Jesse and Jesse's son. The complete circle of kindness. Weber explains that Jesse wanted to be the match for her father, but it didn’t work out. “Something in me told me that I needed to be tested and so I got ahold of Jesse.”

Over a short couple of months, Weber went through all the testing and discovered she was a perfect match for Jesse’s father, Dave Gosch. “I had an extra kidney. You only need one,” says Weber, “I was healthy enough to donate.”

“I consider myself a tough person,” Weber says. But regarding those first couple of days out of surgery? “Wowza!” says Weber.

Now, after several weeks of recovery, Weber is feeling great, though she does admit she tires easily. Doctors say her energy level will improve with more recovery time.

So, why did she selflessly go through with this act of kindness? Weber says it was her dad. She is very close to her father and would want someone to step forward if something would happen to him. “I put myself in Jesse’s position,” she says.  “I didn’t want Jesse to have to go through anything with her father being sick.”

Weber is thankful for her family and the Grant Wood community for showing kindness to her. “I hope people realize that you do only need one kidney and there are thousands of people out there waiting for a kidney and I hope people come forward if it is right for them. It was right for me and that is why I choose to do it.”

This selfless act of kindness is a teaching moment that she shares, on a daily basis, with her students. 

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