Debi Pearce, a 16-year REALTOR® with Royal LePage Brookside Realty in Maple Ridge, recently underwent a journey of personal transformation in order to prepare to donate one of her kidneys to the son of one of her clients.

Debi first met the Dunsire family when she listed their home in 2018. Their son Geoff, 31, was living with them and it was apparent he wasn’t well. He had a severe reaction to a hepatitis shot when he was 13 that ultimately caused his kidneys and liver to fail.

He received a life-saving liver transplant and managed his kidney failure with dialysis, which involved going to the hospital three times a week, and during this time, Geoff was paralyzed, went into a coma and experienced some permanent memory loss due to a blood infection.

Geoff needed a new kidney to have a chance at a normal life. Because of complications and the medication he was taking, he wasn’t eligible for a regular transplant. He needed a live donor. Unfortunately, his family weren’t eligible, so they appealed to the public.

“Geoff had faced one challenge after another and it was taking a toll on him” said Debi. “When I learned about his situation, I decided to see if my kidney was a match.”

To qualify as a donor, Debi went through a series of tests. She passed all but one – it turned out Debi was almost a diabetic.

“I was determined to make this donation, so I had to completely change my lifestyle,” she said.

She began taking vigorous walks and eating healthy. Within months, she had lowered her blood sugars to the point where her kidney was acceptable for transplanting.

During this time, Geoff had no idea what Debi was up to. It was when Debbie and her husband Don, a Realtor himself and former Board president (2001) met up with the Dunsires for lunch that Geoff learned about her plan.

“Geoff was overwhelmed when he realised Debi was donating her kidney,” said Tracey Dunsire, Geoff’s mother. “For the past six years, he’d faced one obstacle after another and now he was suddenly given a chance at a normal life. It was hard to take it in.”

The transplant is expected to take place this summer or fall. 

Be a life saver

Register with BC Transplant to donate your organs.