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Jefferson Co. teacher gives student time with donation


“Brittany was giving us another day, another minute, another hour,” said Shelley Justason, while Hayley, 9, added “another future for me”.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Missouri – During the pandemic, many families turned to virtual learning, but a teacher in Kimmswick repeatedly saved the life of one of his students after forming a bond through the computer.

“If any of my students needed anything, I would do what I can for them. Hayley needs me, so here I am,” said Brittany Perschbacher, teacher from Kimmswick.

Perschbacher began teaching at the Missouri Virtual Academy three years ago, unaware that this mission would change the course of his life to save another.

“When we were told that in November Hayley needed a heart, we didn’t know where we were going to end up”, Shelley Justason said with daughter Hayley on her lap, the 9-year-old adding “they, i didn’t know if they were gonna lose me. “

Born with two hearts and a number of health complications, Hayley has had 15 surgeries and is still on organ donation lists for a heart, liver and kidney.

When Perschbacher lost her grandfather to COVID last year, she realized she could become a plasma donor, giving Hayley the gift of time.

“Brittany was giving us another day, another minute, another hour,” said Shelley Justason, Hayley adding “another future for me”.

“If I didn’t do that, would Hayley still be here today? I don’t think about it because it breaks my heart. The world needs Hayley,” Perschbacher said.

Perschbacher now spends around an hour and a half each month donating, but in November she will take it one step further.

“I said to Shelley, ‘If she can accept my plasma, I know you can make living donors for the kidneys. Adults can donate to children. Let’s try to get tested because if my plasma is working then maybe my kidney will work, ‘”said Perschbacher of her intention to become a kidney donor.

Perschbacher was originally scheduled to have kidney tests earlier this summer, but delta cases have delayed appointments.

She is optimistic that they will unite, continuing the bond.

“We’re bonded for life and I’m not giving up on her. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help this girl, and the craziest thing is, we’ve never even met in person.” , said Perschbacher.

“There will never be enough words to say ‘thank you’,” Justason said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Hayley’s family finance her day-to-day medical expenses.