Eddie McCarthy, a math teacher at Whitmer High School in Toledo, Ohio, is making an extraordinary gesture by donating one of his kidneys to his student, Roman McCormick.

The High School Student

Roman, a 15-year-old sophomore, suffers from branchiootorenal/branchiootic syndrome, a rare genetic condition that affects the development of the neck, ears, and kidneys.

For Roman, this condition has restricted his diet and physical activity, draining his energy levels.

“I’m not able to eat foods that most normal kids will be able to. I’m not able to be more [physically] active because [my] kidneys are slowing down my physical activity,” McCormick told “Good Morning America,” noting his condition often drains his energy levels as well.

Roman McCormick and his father Dan McCormick.
Roman McCormick and his father Dan McCormick.

As his health has progressively declined, Roman's parents, Jamie Redd and Dan McCormick, launched a campaign to find a live kidney donor for their son. Their cry for help gained attention from local news outlets and foundations, leading to Eddie McCarthy stepping forward as a potential donor.


“Our goal was to get a live donor because a kidney from a live donor will last longer than from a deceased donor.”

High School Teacher Steps Up

Upon hearing about Roman's situation, McCarthy underwent testing and was delighted to discover that he was a suitable match for his student. Over the course of five months, McCarthy went through rigorous tests and evaluations to ensure his health compatibility for the transplant.

“In mid-February, I think the story was just going around, maybe on Facebook or something and maybe one of my friends might have texted me like, ‘Hey, this is your student.’ So I saw that and then the next day, or maybe a day after that, I went and got tested,” he recounted.

Eddie McCarthy, a Geomatry teacher at Whitmer High School in Toledo, Ohio.
Eddie McCarthy, a Geomatry teacher at Whitmer High School in Toledo, Ohio.

“We were matched … then I just kept going back up to the hospital and doing all the tests that you have to do, and I kept coming back healthy, and it was shown that I’m a match for him.”

What drove McCarthy to this selfless act was not only his compassion for Roman but also his admiration for him as a student. He describes Roman as a kind and remarkable young man who made an impression on him throughout the school year. This admiration fueled McCarthy's determination to offer his kidney.

Originally, McCarthy intended to remain anonymous, but his intuition told him that Roman's family would want to know their donor. Knowing how important it is to have a personal connection in such a life-changing event, McCarthy decided to reveal his identity.

Surgery Taking Place Today

On July 19, at the University of Michigan University Hospital in Ann Arbor, McCarthy and Roman will undergo the life-saving surgeries. McCarthy's willingness to put his own health at risk for the sake of his student exemplifies the true meaning of generosity and selflessness.

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