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Teacher who received kidney from co-worker returns to school with new lease on life

News 12 New Jersey first met Lauren Crupi and Mike Daneman in May while they were getting a sendoff from their St. Leo the Great School family - one day before Daneman donated a kidney to Crupi.

Matt Trapani and Naomi Yané

Sep 6, 2023, 2:28 AM

Updated 288 days ago

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A Monmouth County schoolteacher is back in the classroom after her coworker stepped in and donated a kidney to save her life.
News 12 New Jersey first met Lauren Crupi and Mike Daneman in May while they were getting a sendoff from their St. Leo the Great School family - one day before Daneman donated a kidney to Crupi.
“The community here has been incredible…Everyone really sent us out on such a positive uplifting note, which made it feel like - it just sent us with all positive vibes and good faith to go into our surgery,” Crupi says.
Crupi and Daneman met at the school five years ago. They went from coworkers to friends, and now, family. Daneman says that there was never any hesitation.
“I lost my mom when I was very young, to cancer, and I teach Lauren’s children,” he says. “My first thought was, ‘These kids need their mom.’”
Crupi’s husband took to social media earlier this year seeking help finding a kidney donor for his wife. Daneman was one of the first people to respond to the post. One other person was tested before Daneman but was ineligible.
“Once we found that out, I knew Mike had offered and he was on the list next,” Crupi says. “I said, ‘Do you still want to?’ He said, ‘Absolutely.’”
The surgery took place on June 1. Both are doing well, having taken the summer to recover. They kicked off the new school year on Tuesday with a new lease on life
“Now my friend is healthy - healthier than I think I’ve ever seen her, and that she’ll be able to be around for her kids and she’s able to be around for her students and be the wonderful teacher that she is,” says Daneman.
“Everything is brighter. Everything feels so much better. I’m just ready to take on the year better than ever, brand new and it’s been amazing to be back. It feels great,” Crupi says.
Crupi was born with a genetic kidney disease, which is why she needed the transplant.


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