‘Don’t take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here’, reads a sticker on the door of Sister Matsie Pooe’s office. Pooe is a nursing sister and Transplant Co-ordinator based at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital’s Renal Unit.
The sticker sends a simple message, explained Pooe. ‘Heaven knows that we need kidneys and whoever is able to donate, please donate. It’s better to give someone something that will help her, rather than taking your organs to the grave because they are going to rot’, she said.
Over the years that she’s worked at the centre, Pooe has witnessed the plight of people with kidney disease. This has had such an impact on her that she decided to register as an organ donor. A certificate confirming that she’s a proud organ donor hangs on the wall just behind her desk.
‘This is what my family knows. Should I die – maybe, certified as brain-stem dead -they can give whatever to whoever needs (it)’, said Pooe.
Sister Kay Miyeni is another nursing sister. She’s based at the renal unit at Johannesburg General Hospital. She says ‘many people lose their lives whilst on the waiting list for kidney transplants’. Sister decided to become a donor when she was ‘a nurse working in the Trauma Unit’.
‘I decided to become a donor in 1993, when I saw a young boy who was involved in an accident. He wasn’t badly injured but was certified brain dead. His parents gave away his organs in order to help others’, said Miyeni.
Gabisile Sibeko is a patient on peritoneal dialysis, a self-treatment method that can be conducted at home. It involves affixing a bag filter that filters waste from the kidneys, thus purifying them.
‘I make use of a dialysis solution and dispose it every four hours. It’s very difficult. I have to stay at home and cannot visit anyone as I have to take these bags with me all the time. I’m appealing to the public to please donate for us’, cried Sibeko.
Patricia Mncube is a haemodialysis patient at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. She visits the hospital three times a week and spends four hours on a dialysis machine. She has been on haemodialysis treatment for nine years. Mncube’s only wish is to get back to normal life.
‘I’m appealing to the community to please help us; this life that I’m living is not easy. I would be very grateful if I can find a donor. I would be able to work for my children and give them better education so that they may have a brighter future.
Ntombikayise Mbatha was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2003. In 2004, she was fortunate to receive a kidney from her sister. Although she waited for a relatively short time waiting for a kidney, she knows how difficult it is to live with kidney disease.
‘I don’t wish to go back to a state of life that I was in. It’s hard. You lose weight, your complexion changes; your complexion becomes dark, dark, dark’, said Mbatha.
Mbatha believes in the Bible and is aware that for some Christians, the belief that it’s un-Christian to donate bodily organs, is the main reason why they resist donating organs to save other people’s lives.
‘Biblically, on Resurrection Day, everyone’s soul will be resurrected and not the body. The body will only be left to rot on earth. Rather give your organs to the people who desperately need them. Let’s give the gift of life, let’s help each other,’ she said.
You can also help save lives of people with kidney failure. Give them a second chance by donating.