'Organ donation changed my life' - student

2016-03-09 10:51
Henk Goris has a new lease on life after receiving a new kidney. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

Henk Goris has a new lease on life after receiving a new kidney. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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Durban – At 22, Henk Goris went into organ failure.

The incident in 2013 changed his life.

The youngster suffered kidney failure and in a short space of time also began experiencing strain on his heart due to fluid that was retained from non-functioning kidneys. Goris had to survive with a heart operating at just 30% of its capacity.

- Health24: Kidney failure

The young man's story is just one of many that have come out of the Organ Donor Foundation drive to promote awareness on organ donation in KwaZulu-Natal.

The organisation is currently hoping to increase donors in the province where latest numbers show that just 18 transplants were performed in 2014.

Goris had to undergo dialysis resulting in him visiting a dialysis centre three times a week, four hours at a time to help replace the functioning of his failed kidneys.

"It is an immense restriction. I had to delay [study] modules, but thankfully, through the grace of God, I graduated during that time."

A normal life again

The youngster, now 25 years old, has made a complete turnaround and is currently completing his honours degree in environmental management through the University of South Africa.

"While on dialysis I was placed on the transport waiting list. I was on dialysis for two years when I got my call saying a match had come up."

Describing the moment he was told a matching kidney had been found, Goris said he was informed he needed to head to hospital at 02:00.

"The lady told me there was a beautiful kidney waiting for me.  All that went through my mind was a picture of a normal life again. That was mind blowing for me.

"I think it is a feeling people take for granted, living an unrestricted life. But just that idea was mind blowing. I began to realise, I have a career and future now. It was truly something special."

Now 10 months into having his new kidney, Goris says he is thankful for his life.

"Most people wait five to 10 years for a new kidney but I only waited two years. The change in my life is indescribable.

"It is not only my health that has improved but the perspective and opportunities that I have been exposed to. I am free to do anything I want now."

Everyone should be an organ donor

Goris said he would encourage everyone to become an organ donor because it was a chance to save a life and influence change.

"As a potential organ donor people need to realise you don't only save the life of the people you give an organ to, but you influence thousands of lives because your story could be shared like mine is today. That motivates others."

The youngster says he is now preparing for the Transplant Games to be held in Johannesburg this October. He is participating in the 20km road race and 5km time trials.

"Hopefully if I qualify for the South African team I will go to Spain next year for the World Transplant Games. This is just another way to promote the positive influence that my organ transplant brought to my life."

- If you are interested in assisting the Organ Donor Foundation, visit www.odf.org.za or call their toll free number 0800 226 611 from 09:00 till 16:00 weekdays.

Read more on:    durban  |  health

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