We chatted to the mother of 10 year old Michaela Williams, Melauri Laurens, from Vanderbijlpark about her daughter’s kidney transplant.
1. Which organ/tissue did your child receive, and in what year?
Kidney transplant 2018 from a deceased donor (right hand side).The left kidney and pancreas went to a young lady in her twenties. Her mother stays a few blocks from us, also in Vanderbijlpark.
2. How long was she on the waiting list for her organ?
My daughter was on dialysis for one year when we received the call with the wonderful news.
3. What was life like before the transplant? How did Michaela spend her days?
Life before the transplant was really not easy. Michaela was always so tired. She was doing dialysis at home every night and going to school during the day. She was on 3 different blood pressure medications to try and control her blood pressure. She had no appetite whatsoever and was also on a very strict diet that made things worse.
She cried a lot because she wasn’t allowed to eat the things her friends could eat freely. For us as parents it was also so very tough and emotional. There is nothing you can do to change the situation, you just try to put on a brave face for her while praying and believing that God will provide.
4. Describe the emotions experienced when you received “The Call” for her transplant?
It really was something you almost can’t explain. Disbelief, happiness, fear, excitement… all rolled into one big ball of emotion.
5. What is life like now, after the transplant?
Michaela is a happier child now, playing, running around with her brother… not just sitting around being tired. Her appetite has returned as well. She is just healthier in general and no more high blood pressure.
6. What advice would you give to parents of patients on the waiting list?
Just keep on praying and believing. NEVER GIVE UP HOPE! Handle everything second by second and don’t overthink and try to figure everything out! Sometimes we just need to let go and let God.
7. Why do you think there is a shortage of donors in South Africa?
People is not aware of the importance of donation. More awareness needed. A lot of awareness is created on cancer (also important), but not on organ donation. If Michaela didn’t need a kidney we wouldn’t know about this.
I think death is also a subject most of us would rather avoid, but I feel we must get past that and speak out to our family members about donating organs.
8. If you could describe transplant in one word, what would it be?