Boulder Valley School District

Lafayette Elementary teacher gives the gift of life, encourages others to do the same

Lafayette Elementary teacher gives the gift of life, encourages others to do the same
Randy Barber

En Español

“I feel like I should write a book,” said Lafayette Elementary Intensive Learning Center Teacher Jennifer Weaver. “It is one of those ‘too crazy to be real’ stories.”

This summer, inspired by a social media post, Weaver decided, without hesitation, to donate a kidney to a stranger. It didn’t take long before the two women became fast friends.

“One morning during summer vacation, I woke up and was checking Facebook and I read the story of Shyamlee,” Weaver explained. “She is a mom and she goes to dialysis three times a week and is in renal failure. It was such a heartbreaking story.”

The part that immediately grabbed her attention was that she and Shyamlee Pringle, of Boulder, shared the same blood type.

“I honestly didn’t have to give it a lot of thought. I went to my husband and told him that I read this story and I feel like I have to help,” Weaver said.

He was completely supportive and, again without an ounce of hesitation, Weaver got started on the process, filling out the necessary paperwork to become a donor for UC Health.

“They are super thorough. UC Health only gives the go ahead to people who they feel are super healthy and will have a good outcome afterwards,” Weaver said. “My entire summer vacation was going to doctors appointments, getting tests, getting follow up tests.”

In July, Weaver got the news that she was hoping for. Not only was she approved to be a living organ donor, but she was a match and would have the opportunity to give Pringle her kidney.

READ MORE: Boulder resident receives kidney from Dacono resident

“I reached out to her on Facebook and was like, ‘you’ve never heard of me and you don’t know me, but I’m your donor and I’ve been approved. That started this Facebook messaging,” Weaver said. 

“Oh my goodness. If you were to write down what kind of person you would feel amazing to donate to, it would so be her,” Weaver added. “The more we talked and the more we got together the more our values, how we parent, what we believe in totally and completely aligned. It was like we were supposed to be friends.”

The surgery went well for both women. They remain in daily contact, giving her a window into the ups and downs Pringle has to go through as her doctors work through ensuring that her body doesn’t reject the new kidney.

“It is hard to hear her say that she’s back in the hospital and there is nothing more I can do,” Williams said. “All signs are that the kidney is doing great.”

Weaver is now encouraging others to consider living organ donation. She says that the waiting list for an organ is about 10 years for most patients and while many of the organs donated come from those that have passed away, living organ donations are optimal and the impact to the donor’s life is minimal.

It has been so hard to hear people say, ‘you’re a hero’ ‘that is amazing’, because I went to the hospital, went to sleep, it was all good. 

She was back to school after three weeks of recovery.

“I have a completely normal lifespan now,” Weaver said. “My prognosis is the same as everyone else. I don’t have to drastically change my lifestyle.”

“There is never a perfect time and you have to take the opportunity to help when you can,” Weaver said.

She says that it made her feel like she was contributing to the world, during a time that it is easy to feel helpless.

“With the pandemic and all the unrest going on, instead of being stressed, it made me want to do something and contribute in some way,” Weaver said. “Even though it wasn’t directly related to what is going on in the world, it is something that I felt like I could do.”

Weaver says it is just part of who she is.

“This was a natural extension. As a teacher, you tend to have a certain kind of personality. You tend to have a lot of concern for others. This was another avenue that I could help somebody,” Weaver said.

The special education teacher says that she shared the reason for her leave with the parents of students in her class and said that she was overwhelmed by the response.

“One of my kids sent me a video that I got the day before surgery that was like, ‘I love you, you are my hero,’” Weaver said. “It literally made me cry.”

Another response she received from one of the parents made her laugh.

“She told her daughter that I was not in school because I donated a kidney and the daughter was like, ‘a kitty!’” Weaver shared with a laugh.

You can learn more about the living donation process at and sign up to become a living kidney or liver donor by visiting the UC Health Living Donor website.


Recent Stories