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Kidney Donor Wins $500,000 in Lottery

June 16, 2004|From Associated Press

HAMPTON, Va. — A woman who changed the fortunes of a man she didn't know by anonymously donating a kidney has come into a small fortune of her own, winning $500,000 in the Virginia Lottery.

"I think if you do good things for people, good things will happen to you," Mitzi Nichols of Virginia Beach said during a news conference Tuesday at the lottery's regional office.

Nichols, a 44-year-old cashier in the gift shop on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, bought her winning scratch-off ticket Monday.

She plans to keep her job and use her winnings -- $355,000 after taxes -- to buy her first house, a truck for her husband and a car for herself, and to help her daughter return to college.

She's also going to pay to fix the broken-down car of Calvin Saunders of Portsmouth, the man who no longer needs to be hooked up to a dialysis machine because of her organ donation.

Saunders said that he was overwhelmed by Nichols' continuing generosity.

"I told her, 'You've given me enough by giving me a kidney,' " said Saunders, 54, a medical transport driver.

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