Here are the six families whose members will form a human chain for the biggest ever domino transplant in India

Friday, 24 January 2014 - 7:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Twelve surgeries, involving six donors and as many recipients, will be performed simultaneously by 65 doctors at three city hospitals – Bombay, Hiranandani and Hinduja – on Saturday to save the lives of six persons suffering from kidney ailments. Santosh Andhale profiles the six families whose members will form a human chain for the biggest ever domino transplant in India

Wife gives a lifeline to Sandeep
“For every woman, her husband is the most important person in her life. It is no different for me and I can do anything to save his life,” said Vaishali Waykar, who is donating her kidney to her husband Sandeep. She said it did not even take a minute for her to take the decision as her husband is facing a life-threatening disease. “There is no other option to save him.”

Sandeep (41), a resident of Pune, has been undergoing treatment for the past one year. After the doctors put him on dialysis, he has been staying at his brother-in-law’s place in Koparkhairane.

“Belonging to a farmer family, my husband had no vices. He does not smoke nor drink. Yet, I fail to understand how he suffered from a serious kidney ailment. The doctors said the transplant and post-surgery care will require a lot of money. We don’t know how we’ll manage to get funds. We have one acre of land and have been surviving because of it. We have approached several NGOs, but haven’t managed to collect sufficient money. We have been borrowing money from relatives too. I have been busy collecting money; I don’t think I am doing something special by donating my kidney to my husband,” said Vaishali.

Ashok Walunj, Sandeep’s brother-in-law, has also been running from pillar to post to collect money, but is helpless when people turn him away. “Nobody else from my family came forward to help. But my wife stood like a rock behind me and offered to donate her kidney to save my life. We are uneducated people and she does not realise what a big sacrifice she’s making for me.

Though our blood groups don’t match, we have decided to go for a kidney swap transplant. The procedure is a lifeline for all pairs who are undergoing domino kidney transplant,” a grateful Sandeep told dna.

‘Saving my wife’s life  and helping others’
“Being a universal donor, I can donate my kidney to my wife and help her overcome the ailment.

However, after the doctors told me that if I participate in the domino kidney transplant, I can save the lives of five others, I agreed immediately. I waited for six months to complete the documentation work and now I am happy,” said Nanda Jere, 58, a resident of Kalyan.

Nanda, who works with a private firm, has  two daughters. His wife Sucheta, 47, had kidney ailments since 2013 and was advised a transplant by doctors seven months ago. “After doctors told me that my wife needs to undergo a kidney transplant, I immediately decided to donate my kidney. The doctors informed us about the benefits of a domino kidney transplant – which will save the lives of five others whose kidneys do not match with others. After hearing the doctors out, we realised it was a noble thing to do and readily agreed,” Nanda told dna. Nanda’s blood group is O positive and that of his wife is AB positive. They are a perfect match for each other.  “I don’t think I am going out of my way or doing something great. I want to save my wife and therefore, donating my kidney to her.  I am just doing my duty,” said Nanda. Sucheta and Nanda had a love marriage in 1991. For them, their family is their first concern. They took their daughters’ opinion before conveying their decision to the doctors. The daughters were more than happy with their father’s large-heartedness. “I don’t have words to express how great my husband is. He took a decision to donate his kidney at this age... I love him. And it’s not just about me. While donating the kidney, he is also taking care of other people which shows his helpful nature,” said Sucheta.

Husband comes to the rescue
Pratibha Darekar (44), a resident of Kalwa, cannot stop praising her husband Manohar. In a rare gesture, 51-year-old Manohar has decided to donate his kidney to Pratibha, who was diagnosed with kidney ailments four years ago. So far, in most of the cases, wives have been donating kidneys to save the lives of their spouses. A mother of two, Pratibha had never imagined that she would have to undergo a kidney transplant surgery. Six months ago, her health deteriorated following which she had to be put on dialysis. The doctors said transplant was necessary. “My husband has given me a second life by showing his willingness to donate his kidney. It is a great sacrifice. When the doctors told me that I’d need a transplant, my family supported me completely.

My husband said he’d donate his kidney, but wasn’t sure if he was a suitable donor because our blood groups are different. However, after consulting the doctors, we approached the kidney swap transplant registry. We are now waiting for a positive response,” Pratibha told dna.

For the last six months, Pratibha has been on dialysis. “One day, the doctors called me and said they are planning a different procedure which can save six pairs. I agreed immediately. I am grateful to the doctors who coordinated with everyone and organised it. I am also lucky that such a procedure can be carried out in our country,” she said.

Manohar, a bank employee, is hesitant to take credit. He says there should be greater awareness about this procedure and that the government should sensitise people on the subject. “I don’t think I am doing something great by donating my kidney to my wife,” he said with a touch of modesty.

A father’s gift to his son
Manish Yashwantrao (23), who needs dialysis thrice a week, hopes to lead a normal life after the kidney transplant. “My father is like god to me. Despite being the only breadwinner in the family, he took a tough decision to donate his kidney,” he said.

Manish was looking for a job after completing his degree in computer engineering. In July last year, Manish visited a doctor after experiencing pain. Medical tests revealed that his creatinine level was very high and both of his kidneys were not working properly. Doctors said a kidney transplant was the only option for him. Then he was put on dialysis under the observation of a nephrologist.

His mother Sharmila immediately agreed to donate her kidney, but she has high blood pressure.

His father Sharad (53), who is working with the revenue department, expressed his desire to donate his kidney, but his blood group was different. After talking to doctors, they explored the option of kidney swap and registered with the registry. Manish has a history of high blood pressure, which lead to kidney failure. “My family and relatives gave me great support. l am lucky to be part of this domino kidney transplant procedure. Doctors are very co-operative and I am going to get rid of dialysis soon,” said Manish.

‘A second birth for me’
MD Kamble (55), a telephone mechanic and a father of two, felt helpless when doctors suggested him that despite his kidney matching with his son, he was not fit to donate it. “Despite my kidney matching, I cannot donate it to my son and give him a new lease of his life. After several investigations, I found that I am too suffering from a kidney problem,” he said.

Kamble’s elder son Vikas (25) first suffered kidney ailment 10 years ago, but had been on medication. His situation worsened and his creatinine levels went up. So, finally the family decided to undergo a kidney transplant six months ago.

“My mother within a split of a second said she was willing to donate, but it was not medically suitable since her blood group is different,” Vikas said. “Then we came to know there is a registry were you can swap the kidney and we approached Apex Swap Transplant Registry (ASTRA) at Shushrut Hospital in Chembur. Within six months, we got a kidney donor through domino transplant. We got all the permission from the hospital. Now, we are waiting for the transplant,” said Vikas, who had completed his study in Information Technology. He added, “My mother had given me a second birth and I don’t have words to express my gratitude to her. She is really great.

This is the time when I have to take care of parents and still they are taking care of me. I am just hoping that the transplant goes well.”

“Parents can go to any extent to save the life of their sons or daughters. We just want our son to lead a normal life like any other children after the procedure,” said Kamble.

‘His  life is more important to me’
Rizwana Tamboli (40), a resident of Nashik and a mother of two, became worried when the condition of her husband, Eliaze, started deteriorating. Eliaze, 45, who works with a private firm, was suffering from kidney ailments for the past six years. Doctors said both of his kidneys have failed and a transplant is the only option.

“I have no problem in donating my kidney to save my husband’s life. His life is more important to me,” said Rizwana.

“Initially, we were not aware about the kidney transplant. We didn’t know anything but somehow we managed to contact doctors in Mumbai. They told us that a transplant is the only option. I decided to donate my kidney, but the only problem was that our blood groups are different,” said Rizwana.

“The doctors in Mumbai told us to register with the kidney swap transplant registry. Once they identify a matching couple, they will swap the kidney with us. But somehow doctors planned the domino kidney transplant procedure through which we got a compatible kidney donor. I am thankful to the doctors and hope that the procedure goes up well,” said Rizwana.

What’s domino transplant?
A normal swap transplant is the one that involves just two kidney patients who swap their donors in order to achieve a compatible match. A domino transplant involves more than two pairs of families who form a human chain, wherein donors are swapped with recipients to achieve compatible matches.

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