GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — When Patrice Brown became the principal at Western Guilford Middle School in 2013, she didn't expect to form the bond she did with her then assistant principal, Carla Flores Ballesteros. Even though Ballesteros became the principal of her own school, Allen Jay Elementary, their bond remained strong.
So when Brown called Ballesteros in September to congratulate her on being nominated for Guilford County's Principal of the year - they kept chatting. Ballesteros asked about Brown's husband, John, who is going through dialysis for renal failure. John was all set for an organ donation but days before the phone call, the donation fell through. What happened next, they say, was just part of God's plan.
"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 and I said, 'I'll do it!'" Ballesteros said.
She hounded Brown for the organ donation paperwork, passed the many screenings and Tuesday morning, she'll give John her left kidney.
"We’ve learned throughout this process that God moves in silence and sometimes you have to step back and let things fall into place," John said.
That's exactly what all three say happened: things just fell into place. The two patients will report to the hospital Tuesday morning before the sun rises. In neighboring operating rooms, Ballesteros will lose an organ and John will gain a new life.
"I just feel blessed, I’m at peace and I have faith so I was led to do this and I think it’s also an opportunity for me," Ballesteros said. "It’s a gift that I’m giving John but it’s also a gift I’m giving to myself from God for all of the things that I have."
Ballesteros' donation will take John off the donor list, meaning someone else who needs a kidney will get one because of her donation.
Seven years ago, when Brown walked into her new school she likely expected to make friends but the seed that was planted in 2013 in the office of Western Guilford Middle has blossomed into a beautiful, selfless, life-saving relationship.
"Just know when you give to others you may not always see the fruition of it, you may just be planting that seed, but all of use have that responsibility to love each other," Brown said.