Long walk in support of organ donation

2018-11-08 06:02
At the launch of the 80/80 walk were (from left) Kouga Speaker Hattingh Bornman, kidney transplant beneficiary Nombuyiselo Skefu from the South African Transplant Sport Association Eastern Cape, Open Eye Foundation Chairperson Mosa Mphore, Ward 6 Councillor Lefty Vumazonke, renal failure patient Phumzile Oliphant Jr and Councillor Timothy Jantjes.    Photo:SUPPLIED

At the launch of the 80/80 walk were (from left) Kouga Speaker Hattingh Bornman, kidney transplant beneficiary Nombuyiselo Skefu from the South African Transplant Sport Association Eastern Cape, Open Eye Foundation Chairperson Mosa Mphore, Ward 6 Councillor Lefty Vumazonke, renal failure patient Phumzile Oliphant Jr and Councillor Timothy Jantjes. Photo:SUPPLIED

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A three-day walk to Port Elizabeth to create awareness of organ donation and to assist a local renal failure patient find a donor started from Humansdorp on Friday.

The “80/80 Walk” is an initiative by the Open Eye Foundation, a Johannesburg-based non-governmental organisation that focuses on health education about kidney diseases and organ donation in underprivileged communities in South Africa.

The programme started with an awareness event in KwaNomzamo, where various speakers highlighted the importance of organ donation in saving other people’s lives.

Foundation founder and chairperson, Mosa Mphore, said they were brought to Humansdorp by the plight of Phumzile Oliphant Jr, who is a renal failure patient desperately in need of a kidney.

“I am a former renal failure patient myself and when everyone was ready to give up on me, I was fortunate enough to receive a kidney and the transplant was done in 2013.

“I have since then taken it upon myself to spread the message, especially in black and poor communities where different belief systems prevent people from donating their organs,” he said.

Oliphant Jr’s father, Phumzile, said although he was happy that the campaign was done in his son’s name, he was hoping that this would be the beginning of a process for people to be more open-minded about organ donation.

I have lived and gone through various stages of life, some of them very joyful and exciting. My son hasn’t had that privilege as he has constantly had to be extra careful about his health and I want this to change,” said Oliphant Sr.

He pledged that he would donate his organs at the time of his death.

None of the Oliphant family members are a match for them to donate a kidney to Oliphant Jr.

Kouga Speaker Hattingh Bornman congratulated the foundation on its sterling work and urged everyone to spread awareness.

“I want to echo the words of the other speakers, that we do not need to go to the grave with all our organs while there are people who desperately need transplants to survive.

“As the municipality, we will work with all of you to ensure our community is more educated. Let us help each other to live longer, healthy lives,” he said.

The walk started with a 5km fun walk with community members, after which professional walkers from the foundation, volunteers and the South African Transplant Sport Association proceeded to Port Elizabeth.

The group slept in Mondplaas on Friday, Greenbushes on Saturday and ended their walk at Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

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