Good People Doing Good Things — Finn Lanning

His name is Damien, last name unknown, and he is 13 years old.  Let me tell you a bit about Damien.  He was placed in foster care at a very early age, and as so often happens, has been bounced from one foster home to another.  When he was eight years old, Damien’s kidneys both stopped working and he was diagnosed with a serious kidney disease, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.  The only cure is a kidney transplant, and meanwhile Damien must spend more than 12 hours per day hooked to a dialysis machine.

DamienThere is a rule in the medical community about transplant recipients … they must have a stable home — homeless people are not placed on the list because they tend to have more complications.  Much of the time, Damien’s only home has been a hospital, when foster homes have not worked out, often because of the intensive care and restrictive diet that Damien requires.  As a result, Damien has been on and off the transplant list for the past five years.

Early last year, a relative took Damien in and once again he was back on the transplant list.  His mental and physical health improved, and he was able to enroll in the AXL Academy in Aurora, Colorado.  Enter math teacher, Finn Lanning.  Says Finn …

“Although he has significant health challenges, he is an excellent student and a kind, generous, and motivated human being.”

Sadly, after caring for Damien for several months, last fall the relative decided that Damien’s additional needs were simply too much, and she was no longer able to care for Damien.  The decision was made to return him to the custody of the county.  The county would be sending him back to the hospital where he had spent much of his young life, sometimes for months at a time, once even for a full year.  He would once again be removed from the transplant list.

On what was to be his last day at school, Damien told his math teacher that he wouldn’t be back.  Finn Lanning asked why, and he told him.  Over the next few days, Finn couldn’t get Damien out of his mind.

“Over that time, I started out going in to give him his work and just hang out with him a little bit, keep him caught up in the classroom. And as I learned more about his story and what he was facing and what his needs were and why they weren’t being met, it just became really hard for me to look the other way.”

It wasn’t an immediate decision, Finn recalls …

“’No way! This is not something that I’m going to do.’ But as time went on, I felt a call to engage with it. I couldn’t just not do it. I didn’t see it as an option.”

Damien-Finn-3So, in late December Finn began training to take care of young Damien, and Damien moved in with Finn earlier this year.  When the community heard of the story, they began pitching in with a bed and assorted things Finn would need to provide a home for Damien.  Damien’s dietary requirements are challenging and costly, and like any 13-year-old boy, Damien sometimes rebels and really wants nachos or fried chicken.  Nonetheless, one of the things the two enjoy doing is cooking together!

Damien-Finn-1

Finn has to take time off work twice a week to take Damien to doctor’s appointments, and a number of his fellow-teachers have donated their vacation time so that he wouldn’t lose any pay.  Damien doesn’t have his kidney yet, but they are hoping for soon … very soon.  Meanwhile, the two are bonding, learning to live together, and … perhaps the best part … Finn is planning to adopt Damien!  First things first, he says, and the first priority is getting the kidney, but after that he plans to adopt him.

Damien-Finn-2

50 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — Finn Lanning

  1. Wish I had a kidney to give him, but mine don’t work so good for me. I hope they find one for him soon. Being continually moved off the list, and probably having to work bottom up each time he is put back on, is one of the cruelest things I can imagine doing to a young boy. He is not homeless, no matter where he is living. Foster homes or county shelters, or hospitals especially, kids are not homeless. Some adults might be, and yes some children are made homeless because their parent(s) have been forced into homelessness, but who are we trying to fool. Nobody wants to pay for the operation is the real problem. Better to let poor Damien die than give him charity. Who the hell do the powers-that-be think they are? We are talking a child here, not a luckless mental health patient or a jobless person or even a drug addict. Damien was born with bad kidneys. In Canada he would have got a transplant years ago, and he wouldn’t owe anyone anything for it.
    CAPITALISM! Heartless assholes is what they are…

    Liked by 5 people

    • I agree with you that at least part of the reason he is taken off the list every time he is removed from a foster home boils down to money. The other reason, though, is that they say kids who have no stable home are more likely to have problems that could lead to rejection. I was told many decades ago that a pancreas transplant would cure my diabetes, BUT they would not even put me on the list because I am a smoker. With so many needing organs, and so few organs available, they choose only the ones with the highest probability for success and the longest potential life expectancy. The answer lies in people donating organs … I’ve heard of so many who refuse to sign an organ donor card, for they say they wish to be buried “intact”. WTF??? What good do those eyes, kidneys or heart do a person once they’re dead??? To me, that is the epitome of selfishness. I have a signed organ donor card that says they can have any working part … not that there are likely to be any parts left working, but still. If everybody donated their organs at the time of their death, I suspect there would be no shortage. Sigh.

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      • I forgot about that part of it, but like you I think evefyone should be a donor. There is a movement now to write a law to make everyone a donor unless they carry a non-donor card with them. That would help, but it sjould be an automatic choice. I doubt anyone is going to refuse to accept a transplant if they need one.
        I myself cannot get knee replacements because I am prone to infections. My immune system does not work well. Therefore my life is not worth easing. It’s tantamount to saying my life is not worth saving.Too bad, so sad.

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  2. I hope this is the end of all sadness in Damien’s life and soon the end of all his health problems too. Finn is doing a fantastic thing and the support he’s getting from the community and from his fellow teachers is amazing. This is a wonderful, heartwarming story of widespread kindness of a rare kind.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope so too. I had another story I was going to use along with this one about a teacher who donated a kidney to a student, but then I read that the girl’s body had rejected the kidney and she is now near dying, so I thought it too sad to use here. But, it also made me realize that even if they do find a kidney for Damien, there’s still a long road ahead. Like you, I hope it works out well, and I’m glad he’ll have Finn by his side to help him deal with it all.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 3 people

    • Hello David. I agree with you. One thing I would like to mention is here in the US it is a huge shame that our healthcare system for people systems to be gofundme funded and that co-workers must be asked to give up their own sick time to support their co-workers in trouble. I How can that be a functional health system? What if you have no co-workers to help out, or you get no traction on a gofundme page? You simply die? I love that some people are willing to give and ron and I have done so when we can but that is not a way to fund the entire countries health system. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

      • For all the slating it takes I wouldn’t swap my NHS for any other system. A little slow sometimes but you get treated and the treatment is free (paid via taxes) with excellent doctors not looking for private practice to make millions for themselves. I and my family(with one exception) have only ever been treated with kindness and respect.
        Hugs

        Liked by 2 people

        • Hello David. I hate when people argue that universal healthcare means care is rationed or delayed. My aunt in Canada got her new hip replacement in three months. I had to wait for my right hip replacement for 8 years from the VA. I had to use the VA because I couldn’t afford the cost of a hip replacement and I had no insurance. I went from a destroyed joint to the top of my leg being decayed and gone. I still suffer from the delay and will all my life. My left hip I had to wait three years for replacement. In this case I had insurance but couldn’t afford the copay for the surgery and hospital costs. Because I had to stop working three years earlier due to not being able to walk, we were barely holding on financially to our home even several times having electric and other services shut off. After three years I got my disability as a single payment with a large chunk taken by the lawyer we hired to get the disability. While after paying back bills ( medical bankruptcies is a very real thing in the US ) that left us with little to show for the three years of back payments it did entitle me to our government universal healthcare system called medicare and so I was able to get my left hip replaced. By then I was in a wheelchair and taking large amounts to morphine for pain. This adds to the already bad health situation I am in. This is the healthcare so many in our country are trying so hard to protect. The insurance industry and big money making doctors are trying to convince all of us if the government goes to a universal program we will lose all care. The only loss will be their profits and even more obscene profits. When I was working in the Surgical ICU I had one very wealthy doctor tell me people like him shouldn’t have to pay taxes only people like me should. So how to get the people in my country to realize all the upper incomes on healthcare / the corporations raking in massive profits are lying to us? I don’t know. The situation is simply not sustainable. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Nearly cried. This is a beautiful account Jill. Thank you for sharing this with us. This tale of two heroes and a community supporting them.
    Has to be reblogged and posted on Facebook.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you liked it! I sometimes say “we need more like him/her”, but the reality is there are a lot of people like this who care about others … we just don’t hear about them so much. And thanks so much for sharing it!

      Liked by 5 people

      • The majority of people…are ‘Good People’, it’s just that the circle-jerk minority get the headlines.
        My privilege and pleasure to share Jill

        Liked by 2 people

        • ‘Tis true … there’s a saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil”, and that seems to be the case in life. Those who are the most abominable are in the headlines daily, while the rest go quietly about the business of trying to be good people and help others.

          Liked by 2 people

            • I fully agree and have often said the worst punishment we could dole out to Trump is to completely ignore him. But, it is so much easier said than done. The media keeps him on our radar 24/7, wherever we turn, and is designed to make our blood boil. Sigh.

              Liked by 1 person

                • It is. The technology of instant global communication is a double edged sword, a two-sided coin. Where news and politics are concerned, it gives us more transparency, at least in theory, gives us more ability to know what is happening in our government and around the world. But, unfortunately, there are those who would use it as a tool, use it to manipulate the public by providing distractions, smoke & mirrors. What’s behind the curtain? A few reporters are conscionable enough to dig, to try to find out what is out of sight, but sadly the public are more interested in the circus being played out before their eyes.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • On ‘Yahoo’ ‘ s ‘news’ (Ha!) feed I saw a the headline of the risk of an Asteroid hitting earth this September. On reading the article turns out there is a 1:7,000 chance…
                    All the comments I read were as equally dismissive as I felt.
                    Needless to say there will be folk reinforcing their kitchen tables to hide under when it happens

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I sometimes think that some people thrive on fear. The asteroid thing … I’d bet the odds are about as good in July or December as in September, but you’re right … there will be some who build bomb shelters in their back yards. Remember the ‘Y2K’ scare almost 20 years ago? People were stockpiling food, bottled water, blankets. 🙄 It’s the selling of fear that put Trump in office … he convinced people that white Christians were about to become a minority, that Mexicans were coming to take their jobs and rape their wives, and Muslims were all terrorists intent on imposing Sharia law on the U.S. Sigh. Ignorance … we must find a way to better educate people.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Thwack ’em about the head with a wet newspaper every time they give the wrong answer? 😤…..Old school methods are the best!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Wet news print does leave a good mark…..
                      But….
                      Different strokes fer different folks Jill.
                      Whatever gets the job done.

                      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right … teaching can be rewarding, but many times it seems like a thankless task and as you say, teachers can become jaded. Finn is a caring man. I happened upon another story of a teacher who donated a kidney to a student who had the same disease as Damien, but I didn’t include it, for the child rejected the kidney and I thought the story a bit too sad for what is supposed to be an uplifting post.

      Liked by 3 people

    • My pleasure! It does us all good to step back from the day-to-day detritus and remember that there are still good people quietly going about the business of helping others. Glad you enjoyed Damien and Finn’s story!

      Liked by 2 people

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