GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — This story begins in 2013. in the halls of Western Guilford Middle School. Patrice Brown had just become the new principal. Carla Ballesteros was the assistant principal there. The two hit it off instantly.
"She welcomed me right on in," Patrice said. "She and the other assistant principal, we became a little family.
But they could have never anticipated what that family would become seven years later. Carla is now the principal at Allen Jay Elementary and was up for Guilford County Principal of the Year. Patrice gave her a call.
"After talking a little I asked her how John was doing, like friends do, we ask about each other's family, and she shared that things had fallen through with the donor they had," Carla said.
Patrice's husband, John, needed a kidney. He'd been on dialysis for a while and surgery was his best option.
"I said, 'I'll do it!'" Carla said.
From there, everything fell into place.
"Carla completed the packet, okay, she turned it in, then she passed the first round of screening, her blood type was compatible with mine, then she completed the next one..." John said.
On Tuesday, December 15th, Carla and John reported for surgery. Everything continued to fall into place.
"As soon as I took my kidney out and do whatever procedure they had to do and placed it in John's body, they said it started working that's right there it's a miracle," Carla said.
It's a story of miracles.
"As Carla said, there are miracles happening every day," Patrice said. "It just has given us the extra inspiration in a lot of cases to see another day in a different way."
It's a story of inspiration.
"Many people have said that Carla's selfless act has restored their faith in humanity," Jorge, Carla's husband, said.
It's a story of faith.
"This time of year when you're talking about faith in humanity you know that can be articulated through hope," John said. "And to be able to embody what hope looks like so that you can actually see what it is you can see me as a walk on this journey."
It's a story of hope, that began as a friendship between co-workers and ends with family.
"We are one big happy family that's probably the best way to explain it," John said.
John will no longer need dialysis and because Carla donated her kidney, he's off the transplant list, making room for someone else to receive a life-saving organ.