California Educator

June/July 2019

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In a lifesaving move, one educator supports her colleague By Dawn L. Marsh W E A L L K N O W how much teachers are willing to give of themselves — particularly to their students and fellow edu- cators. For Alexandria "Alex" Fabbro, it's quite literal. Fabbro and her friend and colleague Shirley Chan are both special education teachers at Rio Vista Elementary School in El Monte and members of El Monte Elementary Teachers Association. Chan has been teaching children with special needs for the last 10 years. Fabbro has been on a journey as a general education teacher and high school math teacher, and now has found her calling as a teacher for children with autism. She has been teaching at Rio Vista for the past three years. When Chan was 15, she was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. Inflammation from lupus can affect body organs and systems such as joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. Chan, now in her 40s, was recently forced to go on daily dialysis treatments after lupus had compromised her kid- neys. e treatments severely impacted her quality of life. "Our job as special educators in the autism wing is pretty exhausting," Fabbro told a local radio station. "After teaching all day, Shirley would have to go home and then do dialysis." A kidney transplant was the only way Chan would be able to get a healthy kidney and live independently without being tethered to her dialysis equipment. She had been on the kid- ney donor list at Scripps Memorial Hospital for the last few years, but time was running out. In September 2018 another colleague and friend of Chan's, Betty Silva, sent out a letter to the staff at Rio Vista Elemen- tary asking if anyone would be willing to become a kidney donor for Chan. When Fabbro received the letter, she did not hesitate. She told Chan that she would gladly donate a kidney to help save her life. Rio Vista Elementary staff in a show of support for Shirley Chan, front left, and Alex Fabbro, front right. Front row, left to right: Diana Luu, Gloria Guevera, Nancy Briones, Adriana Valadez, Dawn Marsh, Michelle Rivera, Liziel Zapata, Hilda Diaz. Second row: Thomas Huerta, Sandra Ibanez, Brianna Rodriguez, Virginia Zendejas, Rosa Narez, Claudia Meza. Back row: Betty Silva, Diana Martinez, Marrissa Calderon, Christian Chidez, Joseph Briones, Virginia Perez, Zaret Vizcarra, Vince Gaytan, Sarah Gilbert. A Precious Gi 55 J U N E / J U L Y 2 019 C

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