Going beyond the bounds of friendship, Sandy Gower recently donated her kidney to Beulah Loxton, her friend of 25 years, in Cape Town.
Loxton had been looking for a kidney donor for six years due to hereditary polycystic kidney disease.
“I was excited that it was happening and I was not afraid at all.
“Sandy is an angel sent by God and gave me a second chance at life.
“My husband and I are so grateful,” Loxton said.
According to the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT), polycystic kidney disease involves the development of thousands of cysts in each kidney.
It usually causes kidney failure after the age of 40 and may be complicated by severe hypertension.
“My dad and brother have passed away at age 52 and 57 respectively from the disease.
“My sister was also affected but she was fortunate to receive a transplant seven years ago,” Loxton said.
She said that the minute the transplant was done, her new kidney from her friend had the kidney was placed, it worked immediately.
“The first three months are crucial and I have to be careful of germs.
“I have to stay away from people – even pets.
“I will also take anti-rejection tablets for the rest of my life and have to be very careful of things such as diabetes and skin cancer,” Loxton said.
In 2016, Loxton’s doctor told her it was time to look for a kidney donor.
Gower immediately volunteered immediately to get tested, and found out that she was a match.
“I got so excited, I cried and was thrilled to be match. I was very sad to see my friend in this condition.
“I just said to God ‘use this body as you see fit’,” Gower said.
In 2017, Loxton’s kidney function was down to 10% percent and she started with dialysis in July of that year.
“I had a graft fitted, which lasted about three months. After that, I had a permanent catheter fitted, which lasted for a year,” Loxton said.
“I attended dialysis at least three times a week since 2017 until just before my transplant,” she said.
The rigorous process of running various tests and getting authorisation took three years. There was no monetary exchange for the transplant.
“My husband was not happy about my decision to donate but he came around. Once you have committed to helping someone, you cannot turn your back on them, and it would not be fair to the person you’re donating to,” Gower said.