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Why This Fearless Teacher Risked Her Life for Her Special Needs Students

May 2, 2014
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Why This Fearless Teacher Risked Her Life for Her Special Needs Students
Tricia Moses delayed major surgery to help her students. Screengrab via YouTube
Brooklyn's Tricia Moses put off a life-saving procedure to help her third graders soar.

Tricia Moses lives and breathes for teaching, so there’s no greater irony than the fact that an extremely rare autoimmune disease destroyed her lungs and nearly took her life.

The Brooklyn teacher, diagnosed with Scleroderma in 2009, was in urgent need of a double lung transplant after the incurable disease turned her lungs into scar tissue. Ever the fearless and devoted teacher, Moses went against doctors orders so she could see her third grade special needs class through state exams, as Yahoo Shine reports.

“We’d been preparing for the exams for so long,” Moses, a teacher of 14 years, told Yahoo. “Even though my students have special needs, they’re still held to the same standards as everyone else unfortunately. We’d worked so hard. I said please just give me another week, and then another week, and then another week. I wanted them to have a fair chance to succeed.”

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The 39-year-old, who teaches at P.S. 233 in Flatbush, is the epitome of selflessness by putting her own life in danger for the well-being of her students. While still working, her health got so bad she had to be placed on oxygen 24 hours a day, and she was so weak that she needed her students to help her get around.

Miraculously, as the New York Daily News reports, Moses was able to see her students through their exams on April 23 before flying to a hospital in Pittsburgh to receive her new lungs in an arduous eight-hour procedure. According to the publication, Moses is recovering but she is in danger of organ rejection — her body has already turned on her new lungs twice, sending her to the hospital both times.

She also faces a mountain of medical bills. While Moses’s insurance mostly covered the $900,000 transplant procedure, she is using her own money to pay for doctors’ visits and medication. To help with the costs, her loved ones plan to host a fundraiser in June.

Now in rehabilitation, the elementary school teacher has been instructed to stay in Pittsburgh to be near her doctors, but she’s already awaiting her return home to New York next January so she can go back to what she does best. She even told Yahoo that she wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again.

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“They’re children with special needs, I didn’t consider it to be the job,” Moses said. “It was something I wanted to do. I wanted to be around them, and I had so much faith in them. I knew if I left them and they had a substitute teacher, it might not have gone as well. I knew that I needed to be there with them.”

Looks like we can all breathe a little easier now that this heroic teacher is on the road to recovery.

 

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