Va. Beach kindergarten teacher finds kidney donor in longtime nurse


SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — By definition nurses are there to help us, however in the case of one Virginia Beach kindergarten teacher, it’s help she never imagined receiving.

Althea O’Garra-DeBraux, 30, of Suffolk, has sickle cell anemia.

It’s a condition in which misshaped red blood cells can cause damage to organs.

For most of her life she has received blood transfusions every four weeks, and for the last three years she has added dialysis treatments daily. Her disease have caused her kidneys to fail. 

“I broke the news to the family I needed a kidney transplant,”  O’Garra-DeBraux said. 

O’Garra-DeBraux, who currently teachers kindergarten at Fairfield Elementary, originally had her brother step up to become a donor.

However, through pre-donor testing, he was ruled out. 

In September, O’Garra-DeBraux told her story to Eldora Snowden, her longtime blood transfusion nurse. 

“Without even a second thought I said, ‘what all is required?’ ” Snowden said. “Just to see her tenacity, just to do it and never give up … I never gave it a second thought.”

The two will enter surgery Tuesday at Norfolk General Hospital.

10 On Your Side will continue to follow this story. Check back for updates. 

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