Varla King, 43 years old from Gqeberha is our featured story for #TransplantTuesday. She donated her left kidney to a friend. Read Varla’s story as an altruistic donor.
1. Which organ did you donate, and in what year?
Kidney (left) July 2019
2. How long were your recipient on the waiting list for an organ?
He was on dialysis for just over a year I think.
3. What made you decide to donate?
A mutual friend sent a message saying she had a friend who needed a kidney so he could be around to be a dad to his two kids. I’ve always been a blood donor, registered on the bone marrow registry, registered as a donor when I die and had recently had a friend overseas who donated her kidney, so it just felt right to me to volunteer to get tested.
4. Describe the emotions experienced when you were told that you are a suitable donor?
I think the biggest was relief, by that point the process had been going on for so long and we had been expecting a decision so many times, to finally have a confirmed answer was great. The fact that it was a positive answer was exciting as well.
5. What is life like now, after donating a kidney?
I honestly don’t notice any difference. I can still train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and compete, I still get to do the work I love with animals. The biggest difference is having a kidney twin in Jason and getting to see how much he is able to enjoy life with Merlin, his new kidney.
6. What advice would you give people considering being a living donor?
Trust the doctors, they will ensure that it is safe for you to go through with the surgery and be patient, the process is long and at times, frustrating, but it is most definitely worth it!
7. Has the idea of an altruistic donor become an outdated expectation in a modern society?
I don’t think so. I’m part of a global group called Kidney Donor Athletes which is growing all the time as more people donate or hear about us. Many of the members of the group are altruistic donors.
8. Summarise the benefits of organ donation in one word.
Hope. (See my TELL Tattoo in the photo)