NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After a challenging personal and health year, a Goodlettsville Middle School 8th grader's classmates put on a parade for her while she continued to social distance after a kidney transplant.
"I guess I never thought that, that that would happen. So it just made me happy about people doing that for me," said 14-year-old Daysha Blanton.
In January 2022, Blanton started being fostered by her aunt, uncle, and grandmother. In May of that year, she had a spinal surgery. In March of the same year, she went on dialysis.
"You get a catheter. If it's right here [on your neck], it's just temporary. But if it's right here [on your chest], it's permanent. And I had one right here [on my chest]," explained Blanton. "And so...I went in...three days a week for three hours and you go in a room where there's a machine and you have two cords that are coming out of you and they hook up and like blood goes through it. It's like a filter and stuff."
After more than a year of that uncomfortable and time consuming dialysis routine, Blanton's family received the call they had been waiting for early one morning.
"April 12 at 4:30 in the morning Granny and got a call saying, 'Hey, it's time to go to the hospital. We got a kidney for you.' So they rushed there we followed soon behind," explained Daysha's Aunt Tabitha Goldsby.
The surgery was a success and a week later Daysha was back being a kid performing at her dance recital.
Nearly six weeks after her surgery, her classmates surprised her with a parade outside Goodlettsville Middle School to encourage her and make sure she felt included in the end-of-year celebrations.
"We wanted to really make sure that Daysha understood how her accomplishments how her success was something for everybody to celebrate and to let the community know that you know, no matter what, nothing is impossible," Goodlettsville Middle School Principal Michelle Demps said.
"The support Goodlettsville has shown us just was amazing. I don't think we could have gotten through everything we did without them," said Goldsby. "All the teachers were great and they all were reaching out all school year and then even more so once she got the transplant. I mean, teachers came to the hospital and visited her and everything. So yeah, we're amazed and honored for the parade."
Despite missing months of school, through virtual learning, Blanton was able to graduate 8th grade.
"She...persevered still got her work done. We worked with her family to make sure that she got the medical care that she needed, but also still got the instruction that she needed as well," said Demps.
The family said they hope Daysha's story inspires others to look out for one another and also donate their kidney if they can.
"Number one, organ donation saves lives, for real. And to know that and be—I'm very appreciative to the Goodlettsville community for all the support and the help that they've given us this year, even with Daysha," Demps agreed. "So I would want them to know that we are so appreciative of our community and appreciative of the District for the support that we got in order to make sure that this was a great experience for Daysha this year."
To see if you are a viable kidney donor,visit Donate Life America's website for details.