DAMASCUS, Md. (WDVM) — Robert Dickie has late-stage kidney disease and he’s been looking for someone to “share their spare” for months. This week, a complete stranger offered him her kidney.
Inshil Hartman and Robert Dickie were complete strangers until Tuesday. She saw our story and decided to get tested. She ended up being a match for Damascus High School’s Mr. Dickie.
He’s taught social studies at DHS for 20 years.
“I still have more that I need to give to this and the next generation,” he said back in October in an interview with WDVM. It was Dickie’s plea for a new kidney, and it worked.
“He said something in one of his interviews, “I still have more to give, and as someone who’s invested a lot of time in the lives of teenagers, that resonated with me,” said Hartman.
“You know how difficult that is? To ask somebody for their kidney? I’m not asking for twenty bucks, I’m saying, “can I have a piece of your body to make my life better forever?,” Dickie said.
Stories about his late-stage disease and search for a new kidney were shared across social media.
“People from Hawaii to Maine, know of the story, because of social media. And that’s pretty cool.”
It’s how Hartman, who goes by the nickname “Inch” found out about Dickie. Her Christian faith and experience as a leader for youth groups influenced her decision to go through the rigorous testing process.
“I had to have an EKG, a CT scan and a chest x-ray, just to see if I was gonna be compatible. Then about a week later, they called and said I was a match.”
“I got an email from someone, who I don’t know: ‘I heard your story, I feel for you, I have a gift for you so I’d like to meet you somewhere.’ So we met here,” Dickie said.
The two met at The Music Cafe in Damascus, and word spread through the restaurant that Inch was there to give Dickie the gift of a lifetime.
The Music Cafe captured the heartwarming moment and posted it on social media, where it’s been shared and viewed thousands of times.
“She gave me this little kidney toy. Then, the real gift she said was that she got tested and she is a match and she wanted to give me a kidney,” he said.
“I talked about it with my parents a lot, prayed about it. I just had this huge sense of peace that this is what I should be doing. Because we need good teachers in the school system,” she said.
Now, Dickie’s hopeful that he’ll be able to keep teaching for years to come, and for that, he’s thankful.
“This is how I make my contribution, beyond this community because these kids will move and they’ll do other things and that can have this cascading effect. So, I wanna keep playing that part of a role, and now I have a better chance at doing that. I’m very appreciative of that,” he said.
Dickie also wants to spread awareness for others in our region who need transplants and encourages those who can be tested to try to help someone else in need.