Though Michael Patrona first was diagnosed with kidney disease 15 years ago, he’s always hoped that it would require only medication to treat into his old age. Yet in the last two years, Patrona—a popular fifth-grade teacher at Saxe Middle School and 1994 New Canaan High School graduate—has felt increasingly run down after work. One month ago, a routine blood test revealed that Patrona’s levels of creatinine—a chemical molecule transported to the kidneys—had skyrocketed dangerously. He needed a transplant, and faced the prospect of undergoing dialysis until a live kidney could be found. But as soon as she learned that her son needed a kidney, Patrona’s mom, Eileen Hynes, got tested, discovered she was a match and signed up to donate her organ.