Thanks, pal, for a new life

By admin
10 September 2010

Rod Harris - or Big Rod, as his friends call him - makes his way to the couch in the TV room of his home in Waterfall, Durban, and sits down with difficulty beside his old school friend, Raymond Haycock (36).

Both men are clearly in pain but they aren’t complaining. Raymond has just saved Rod’s life by giving him one of his kidneys – and he’d do it again, he says.

Find love now! Click here. As he puts it, “anyone would have done it for a friend”.

Well, maybe. But would anyone do it for a friend they hadn’t seen in 10 years – a friend they met quite by chance in a DVD store?

In November 2008 he was diagnosed with kidney failure caused by a virus.

For Rod and his wife, Bridgitte, who’d worked together in Durban and had just moved in together, it was the beginning of a long battle.

Rod required four-hour dialysis treatments three times a week. “Our lives changed overnight,” says Bridgitte.

“It was such a shock suddenly to be sick,” Rod says.

“It only began to sink in after a few months. Bridgitte and I were planning our wedding when I landed in hospital with an infection. So we decided to get married in hospital – just in case we never got another chance.”

He was eventually declared medically unfit to work and his only chance of survival was a kidney transplant – but he was warned the chances of finding a suitable donor were slim.

Until he bumped into Raymond.

He first heard of Rod’s illness when they were catching up in the queue at the DVD store that day. Raymond was appalled at his friend’s news and asked if he could do anything to help.

Jokingly Rod replied, “Have yourself tested – I’m looking for a kidney donor.”

Which is exactly what Raymond did.

“It was a far bigger operation than I’d anticipated,” he confesses. “I thought it would be a quick procedure with a laser.”

But leaving Rod in the lurch never crossed his mind. The friends eventually went under the knife on 20 August.

If the men hadn’t met in that DVD store Rod would probably still be on dialysis three times a week.

Eventually his body wouldn’t have been able to handle the treatment and his kidneys would have failed.

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