New life with dad’s kidney

2008-07-15 00:00

One-and-a-half years after her kidney transplant, Chaslyn Hughes (16) seems well on her way to a full recovery with a kidney donated by her dad.

From renal failure to being blind at 11, from losing her hair due to chemotherapy to three years of dialysis every day, Chaslyn has endured a lot more than most people do in their lifetime.

The Witness started covering Chaslyn’s story when she was first diagnosed with systemic lupus erythemtaosus (SLE) at the age of 11.

SLE is an auto-immune disease that attacks the body’s vital organs and results in a deterioration of kidney function in some patients.

After a five-year battle with the disease, Chaslyn received a kidney from her father, Maynard, in a transplant operation.

Maynard said that giving up one of his kidneys to Chaslyn was a matter of saving her life and an easy decision.

The transplant operation put an end to the dialysis that Chaslyn had been receiving three times a week.

Having spent four birthdays in hospital, every day out of it is a blessing for Chaslyn and her family.

Her mother, Amanda, attributes her daughter’s recovery to her fighting spirit and the fact that “she never gave up”. “Recovery has been a slow process but we are blessed to have her. I never thought my child would see her 16th birthday,” said Amanda.

Amanda spent as much time in hospitals as her daughter, who has been in and out of hospital for the past five years. According to the Hughes, one in a 1 000 people suffer from SLE in South Africa and the majority of them are black.

The Hughes feel that there needs to be more awareness in schools about the disease as well as more awareness about the positive effects of donating blood.

Chaslyn aspires to be a renal nurse so that she can help people who are going through a similar ordeal.

She also hopes to be the one spreading the awareness message to school communities around Pietermaritzburg.

Although Chaslyn is on her way to recovery, she is still quiet and reserved and prefers not to speak about her illness, because, she said, it brings back the memories which nearly cost her life.

She is currently fighting to catch up with all of the school work that she’s missed over the years.

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