Sherwood students rally for teacher to get kidney

'I'm the face of awareness' for organ donation, she said

Sherwood HS teacher Sarah Holtz in a photo from her Facebook page, October 28, 2016
Sherwood HS teacher Sarah Holtz in a photo from her Facebook page, October 28, 2016

SHERWOOD, Ore. (KOIN) — For the past 10 years, Sarah Holtz has been teaching English as a second language to both high school and middle school students in Sherwood.

Every day she strives to be a good role model for her students.

“When you’re going through something harsh you don’t have to be down on yourself, that you can deal with it positively,” the 31-year-old Holtz told KOIN 6 News.

In September 2015, she found out she had Stage 5 kidney disease. She’s now in end-stage renal disease.

Sarah Holtz in a recent Sherwood High School photo
Sarah Holtz in a recent Sherwood High School photo

Together, her kidneys are working at just 5% functionality. She began dialysis in February 2016, and made a conscious decision on how so she could keep teaching.

She could have done hemodialysis, which would require her to be in a center for 3 or 4 days a week. That would keep her from teaching.

So she chose paratoneal dialysis at night.

“I have to be hooked up to my machine by a certain time so it give it 8 hours to run and process out all my toxins,” she said. “Then in morning I get up and get unhooked and get ready to go to school.”

Her students appreciate her efforts.

“She’s always there for us. Even if she’s having a bad day she always keeps us looking at the bright side of every situation ,” said 9th-grader Julianna Diaz. “She’s a wonderful teacher.”

A window at Sherwood High School reminds people to wear green for Ms. Holtz on Friday. It’s part of what’s called Bowmen Battle’s Week, organized by leadership students.

Halftime show  around 8:15 p.m. at Sherwood HS football game Friday to honor Sarah Holtz, including a balloon release, Sarah’s story and her family dressed in Bowmen Battles Week t-shirts. Donate Life Northwest will have a booth at the game to spread the message and register donors.

Cassidey Olesen of Sherwood High School, October 28, 2016 (KOIN)
Cassidey Olesen of Sherwood High School, October 28, 2016 (KOIN)

“Everyday we’ve been recognizing different people in our school who have struggled with something like cancer,” 10th-grader Cassidey Olesen. “Today we’re recognizing (Ms. Holtz) needs an organ transplant.”

    Living donor match for
            Sarah Holtz:
> Between ages of 21 and 70
> O-negative or O-positive blood type
> BMI of 32 or less
> No diabetes
> No blood pressure issues

Sarah Holtz is on the deceased kidney wait list, which, in Oregon, could take 3 to 5 years.

“I’m kind of the face of awareness, but letting people know, especially high schoolers, that they can sign up to be donors at 13 to help with that deceased donor waiting list,” she told KOIN 6 News. “A lot of people don’t know that you can live just fine with one kidney.”

A kidney from a living donor lasts longer than a deceased donor kidney.

During Bowmen’s Battle Week at Sherwood High, there will be a raffle and 2 charity recipients, including Donate Life Northwest.

Holtz said the gift of life, from the right living donor, would change her life.

“I would just feel so relieved that I know I can survive, that I’m not going to die on dialysis or having my kidneys shut down and,” she said, “that I can look forward to the future.”

Support Sarah — YouCaring

Share your spare kidney for Sarah — Facebook