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5K Run Planned in Support of Former Teacher's Kidney Transplant

Karen Reid taught in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for 21 years, and she would have taught longer, if her poor health had not forced her to retire. “I became very sick with complications associated with diabetes,” Reid said, “but I am thankful for the years I was allowed to pursue my passion -- teaching children, watching them grow and learn, witnessing the light bulb that went off when they realized they COULD really read or write -- and now hearing about their careers and life choices. They gave me more than I could have ever given them.”

On Christmas Eve, 2020, WTVD ABC11 ran a feature on Reid and her efforts to find a matched kidney donor. In the video, Reid says, “There's so much more I want to do in this life. I have a granddaughter I'd like to see grow up." The television news story spotlighted Reid’s decision to publicly share a letter in hopes of finding a donor to help save her life. Now, nearly five months later, a potential donor is being tested as an appropriate match, and if successful, the journey to kidney transplantation and the long road to recovery will still be ahead of Reid. 

The Cathedral of Hope Mission Church is sponsoring a virtual, family-friendly 5K Fun Run to help offset expenses associated with Reid’s transplant, as well as to contribute to the donor’s expenses, and to share 10% of proceeds to the National Kidney Foundation. Registration etails and entry fees are explained here.

Reid’s CHCCS teaching career began at Ephesus Elementary School, after six years in Durham Public Schools. In 1990, Reid interviewed for a pilot program called Project P.A.S.S. (Partners for Academic and Social Success) at Glenwood Elementary School (GES). She was one of the first teachers hired for the new blended preschool program, which became a model classroom for all CHCCS preschools. After teaching kindergarten and first grade at GES, she transferred to McDougle Elementary School for 12 years, and she taught for three year at Morris Grove Elementary, until her kidney function reached dangerous levels.

Teaching was more of a calling for me than a job,” Reid said. “I was rewarded with the pleasure of getting to know so many people from so many walks of life. I really loved teaching children and getting to know their families, because I knew that God had us on that journey together for a reason. I am so thankful to God for blessing me with many years of teaching.”

Reid said she was known as the “Rainbow Room Teacher” in the Rainbow Room Classroom. “I chose ‘Rainbow Room,’ because the Rainbow stood for hope, and it was my hope that I could in some small way make the world a better place, one student, one parent, and one family at a time. I explained to parents that teaching was a family affair and that I recognized they were their child’s first teacher; therefore, we had to build a strong partnership between home and school. The students were called Rainbow Room Kids and Parents-Rainbow Room Parents. During the last few days of school and for returning students, we’d say, “Once a Rainbow Room Kid, Always a Rainbow Room Kid, and the same went for the parents!"

In addition to her years of teaching, Reid has chaired Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP committees, volunteered at the Rogers Road Community Center, as well daycare centers and public school classrooms. 


Questions can be directed to 919-697-0016 or          

Donations may be made by check, payable to “Cathedral of Hope Mission Church,” memo Karen’s Kidney -- The Cathedral of Hope Mission Church, PO Box 1086, Carrboro, NC 27510