My incredible journey with my kidney twin during the Covid-19 pandemic

Lindy Melanie Van Diemen, 41, from Cape Town, South Africa, tells the story of her journey as a kidney donor to a complete stranger, who is now her kidney twin. She reveals the challenges she and her recipient faced during the Covid-19 pandemic and shares her positive experience of donating her kidney.

I never considered being an organ donor, not even when I would pass away. However, on the morning of 20 October 2020, my heart and mind completely changed when I came across a Facebook post about someone with failing kidneys who was searching for a living kidney donor (blood type O). I immediately felt driven to help this stranger and show love by volunteering as a potential donor.

Thus began my incredible journey with my kidney twin. I knew that I was doing the right thing, as I was filled with so much peace and absolutely no fear. On 3 December 2023, we received our first good news. We were informed that we were a tissue match and that I could proceed with all the other tests and appointments.

However, it was very challenging going through this process amid a pandemic. There were many weeks, even months, without feedback from our coordinators. Due to the high infection rate we experienced throughout the 4 or 5 waves, transplants were postponed, and our appointments kept getting postponed. It was pretty discouraging, but we were hopeful that everything would happen in God’s time.

I would like to urge governments and policymakers not to postpone important transplants, as happened in our country during the Covid 19 pandemic.

I encourage them to ensure that assistance, dialysis, and donor workup programs are not put on hold or slowed down during unexpected events and that patients have adequate support in both the public and private healthcare sectors.

2020 and 2021 passed, and in January 2022, my recipient was informed that he needed to prepare for dialysis. It’s something he would have liked to avoid, but it had to be done.

The morning of 18 March 2022 is a morning that I will never forget. It is the morning we received our “yes’, our “go ahead”, and our approval. Tears of joy and thankfulness flowed.

The surgery went ahead as scheduled on 17 May 2022, and I felt God’s presence and love as I was carried to the surgery room. I knew without a doubt that I would be just fine, still with absolutely no fear, as my left kidney was removed and successfully placed in its new home.

My recipient and I are both doing well in post-transplant. Recovery wasn’t difficult for me; my doctor is pleased with my health and kidney function, and I would gladly do it over and over again if I could.

I am truly grateful that I chose to be on this journey and that I could be a small part of someone’s new beginning. It is definitely worth it to witness someone’s quality of health and lifestyle improve.