Would you donate your kidney to your sister if she needed one?
Stacey White didn’t think twice when her younger sister, Grassy Park resident Rebecca Blanckenberg, needed a kidney when she was just 19 years old.
On Tuesday December 5, they celebrated a decade of good health with family and friends.
Ms Blanckenberg started feeling sick in August 2007.
Both her kidneys were underdeveloped. “My blood pressure was high and I felt like I was losing my eyesight.”
She underwent a renal transplant after Ms White, who was 27 at the time, was found to be a compatible donor.
Because she didn’t have to wait long for the transplant, Ms Blanckenberg only underwent dialysis once.
She received peritoneal dialysis, which allowed her to receive it at home.
Ms Blanckenberg said she has had no problems for the past 10 years other than “a few blood pressure issues”.
She said she didn’t have to go for trauma counselling. “I only realised at the time that when you go through this change of life, then you will find out who your true friends are.”
She said she is, however, grateful to the staff of Groote Schuur Hospital where she had her operation.
“I was first rushed to Victoria Hospital when I got sick but they transferred me to Groote Schuur to do the operation.”
Ms White said: “We still maintain a close relationship with the staff at Groote Schuur as they were and still are wonderful, helpful staff when we do our regular check -ups.”
Ms Blanckenberg said she is married and graduated this year in ceramic art.
“I will be opening my own business soon.” Ms White is also married with two children and she said she maintains good health.
She encouraged others to become legal kidney donors.
“There is a shortage of dialysis machines at public hospitals and machines at private hospitals are very expensive,” said Ms White.
“We are living testimony that you can still live a normal life after a renal transplant operation.”