Roanoke teacher gives lifesaving gift to stranger

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - One hometown teacher gives a lot to his fifth grade classroom every day.

But this summer, Timothy Carlin decided to give a big, lifesaving gift to a complete stranger.

Carlin is a practical man.

So when he was asked to consider a practical solution to an impractical problem, there was no question in his mind of what to do next.

"Just seemed the right thing to do," he said.

Carlin's wife's colleague's wife needed a kidney.

"She started putting out calls for, 'Hey anybody wanna sign up to donate?'" he said. "So both my wife and I put our name on the list for that."

Carlin, it tuned out, was a good match.

"I had blood taken," Carlin explained, "and urine taken and did 24 hour urine studies."

Someone else ended up giving their friend a kidney, but Carlin had already made up his mind.

"Well I made a joke that this kidney's dead to me anyway now so just take it out - go!"

On July 3 Carlin went to the University of Virginia hospital and donated a kidney.

The recipient?

He has no idea.

"It was something that seemed right and it was something I could do," Carlin explained. "So given those two things there's no reason I shouldn't do it."

And for this Catholic school teacher this donation is where medical intervention meets divine intervention.

"Biblically... If we have two coats and we're called to give one of them, how much more important is a kidney?"

Carlin is recovering well.

"These are the lap sites," he said, pointing to incision scars on his abdomen.

Carlin's doctors told him he was UVA's only non-directed donor of the year.

But for a man of faith and of practicality, this donation is just another one of life's lessons.

"I'm just an unworthy servant, I did just what was expected of me," he said. "I didn't do anything special. I did something that was expected of me."