Jaimee Zrebiec is a sixth-grade math teacher in Alva, but she cannot trust the numbers to solve her most pressing problem – her husband, Matt, is currently in the final stage of renal kidney failure.
Matt suffered from kidney disease for 16 years, almost as long as they have known each other.
“We’ve known all along that progressively his numbers have been going down and he was getting closer and closer to zero,” Jaimee said. “But I guess we were kind of shocked when it just happened all of a sudden in February. I mean, he had to go to dialysis that day and had to get hooked up to the hospital machines.
“And it was a tough day and it’s been tough since,” she added.
As Matt spends hours a day hooked up to a dialysis machine and waits for a donor, students and staff members at the Alva School where Jaimee teaches are stepping up. They started by painting rocks, with Matt’s information, in need of a kidney donor from someone with O-positive blood or O-negative blood.
“We’ve asked the staff members to go and to place them wherever they go in the next couple of days or weeks,” said Dr. Beth Barfield, the principal at the Alva School. “Just somewhere, so hopefully someone will find one.”
“It’s a blessing and I can’t say how much I appreciate it,” Jaimee said. “I can’t even put it into words.”
But the rocks are just the start. The school is raising money by selling merchandise and letting teachers pay for the right to wear jeans. They vow not to stop until Matt gets a new kidney.
“It’s been hard and trying every day,” Jaimee said. “But we’re just going to keep on reaching out to find someone to be a hero.”
At the same time showing her students, not just to wish for it but to work for it.
If someone who is O-positive or O-negative would like to sign up and see if they could be a donor for Matt Zrebiec, visit the Tampa General Living Donor website. You can also call or text the family at (239) 989-6299.