Andrew still going strong 50 years later

East London resident Jean Andrew passed a big milestone recently when she celebrated her 50th year as a kidney transplant patient, making her one of the longest surviving patients in the world.

DEFYING THE ODDS: Despite being given six months to live, Jean Andrew has gone on to live a full 50 years following her kidney transplant in 1971
Picture: MATTHEW FIELD

Andrew received the transplant in February 10, 1971, after suffering kidney failure the previous year.

“My kidneys just failed completely, they just completely dried up,” she said.

After being digonosed with renal failure, Andrew was placed on dialysis but six months later, her kindeys failed again and she was booked into Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital for a transplant.

“The doctors said to me if I live six months, I’m going to have one hell of a party,” Andrew said.

According to US-based United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), the average lifespan of a kidney transplant patient is 16 years.

And yet Andrew is still alive and kicking, 50 years later.

“Praise the Lord, I’m still here.”

The GO! & Express was unable to confirm claims that Andrew is the longest surviving kidney transplant patient in the world by print deadline.

However, surviving 50 years would certainly put her up there.

In 2003, Guinness World Records listed Canadian resident Johanna Leanora Rempel as the record holder, having survived 43 years.

And in a 2010 article on Andrew, the GO spoke with the Organ Donor Foundation in Cape Town who said it was entirely possible that Andrew had a good claim to the record.

For those who are preparing to go for their own transplant operations, Andrew had the following advice:

“Trust and believe in the Lord, to start with. Thereafter, make sure to take your medication.

“Just look after yourself. Don’t drink, don’t smoke and trust in the Lord.”

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