NEW LENOX – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today congratulated Ms. Patricia M. Donahue, a fourth grade teacher from New Lenox, as Illinois’ finalist for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s inaugural Above & Beyond Citizens Honors for her selfless act of donating her kidney to a student who might not have otherwise received a viable donor. Gov. Blagojevich nominated Ms. Donahue after he awarded her with his "People Are Today’s Heroes" (PATH) Award in 2007.
"Ms. Donahue’s humanity serves as an example to us all and I am proud she has been recognized with this honor," Governor Blagojevich said. "She exemplifies one who goes above and beyond her duties as a teacher, and made a personal choice to give her student an amazing gift – the gift of life. I thank Ms. Donahue for her dedication and selflessness."
Above & Beyond is historic, as it is the first time all 107 living Medal of Honor recipients have banded together to create a national platform to promote and honor civilians who put "Service before Self." Three of 51 finalists will be chosen as the 2008 Above & Beyond Citizen Honorees, and these remarkable citizens will be honored and celebrated during a ceremony on March 25th in Washington, D.C.
On April 30, 2006, Ms. Donahue donated her kidney to her student Brandon Schafer. Two years earlier, Brandon was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and was told that he would need a kidney transplant to survive. After learning that Brandon’s mother was not a match, Ms. Donahue decided to get tested and found out that she would be a perfect donor.
Patricia Donahue served in the Peace Corps for a number of years and returned to New Lenox to teach. She was teaching there for only one year when she learned of Brandon’s situation. Her gift to Brandon allows him to look forward to a full and healthy life.