Husband gets wife's kidney

2009-07-24 10:10
Aldre Aspelling and his wife Rochelle recover after she donated him one of her kidneys. (Lulama Zenzile, Die Burger)

Aldre Aspelling and his wife Rochelle recover after she donated him one of her kidneys. (Lulama Zenzile, Die Burger)

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Cape Town – The "in sickness and in health" part of her wedding vows has become reality for a woman who donated one of her kidneys to her husband.

When Aldre Aspelling, 35, of Retreat was diagnosed with kidney failure, his wife Rochelle, 37, didn't have to think twice. Aspelling had two choices – either dialysis three times a week for four hours, or a kidney transplant.

"The dialysis would've been difficult because I have to work," he said. He installs burglar bars.

The kidney was removed laparoscopically on Tuesday.

The Aspellings, who were both recovering in the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital on Thursday, were school sweethearts, but went their separate ways before finding one another ten years later.

Rochelle said on Thursday they had been married almost two years.

"It is too short. We have to grow old together."

Joined at the hip

"I didn't pay her or bribe her," Aspelling joked.

"We are now literally joined at the hip, for good and bad times, but I've told her if I should walk away, I would give her her kidney back. No, I'm just joking – I'm very grateful."

He said it was a wonderful gift.

"It changes your life and how you look at it. To think, my first donor was the most suitable donor. Some people wait up to five years for a kidney."
 
Rochelle said 21 July would in future be the date of their wedding anniversary. "It could easily have been a different story," she said.

The Organ Donation Foundation said that at least ten people in the final phase of kidney failure were sent home each week to die, as dialysis lists were too full.

In 2008, only 301 adults and children received crucially necessary organs. Up to 1 400 South Africans are still waiting for organ donations.

- For more information on organ donation, phone 0800 22 66 11

Read more on:    health  |  organ donation
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