A nurse at Tufts Medical Center redefined generosity this summer as she donated a kidney — to a stranger.
“It was something I put in the back of my mind, when the time comes and I can do that I would like to,” said Debbie Mitchell-Dozier, who works in the nephrology division at Tufts. “I have seen the toll dialysis has on a patient. ... I wanted to give this gift someday.”
The Brockton resident is sharing her story to raise awareness ahead of tomorrow’s Boston Kidney Walk, in which 3,000 are expected to walk to raise $500,000 for the National Kidney Foundation.
The 50-year-old had been preparing physically since 2009, when the sign she had been waiting for came.
Pastor J. Kevin Harris, 43, of Victory Tabernacle Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., gave a special sermon at Mitchell-Dozier’s church, Greater Love Tabernacle Church in Dorchester, earlier this year.
“Normally, I don’t talk about my renal failure publicly,” Harris, 43, said. “On this particular Sunday, I just asked the parishioners to pray for me, for God to heal my natural kidneys or bless me with a kidney via transplant.”
Mitchell-Dozier, an active reservist in the Army, approached him after the service with her offer.
“I just had a blank stare. I was just amazed at such a sacrifice,” Harris said.
He and Mitchell-Dozier matched for both blood type and tissue. The transplant surgery took place in July.
“It is a very amazing thing to meet a person who is selfless like Ms. Dozier,” said Harris’s wife, Ruth, 38. “To me, she really is an exceptional person. She’s a rare breed. She wanted nothing from us in return. She believed this was a calling she wanted to fulfill. The reward we get is priceless.”
To learn more, go to kidney.org.