They were teenagers when he promised to give her a part of him – and Sanjeev Deochand recently made good on his vow when he donated a kidney to his wife, Urisha.
Sanjeev lives in Durban with Urisha, his high-school sweetheart.
Fore more than a decade she'd been living with one kidney but when her kidney function dropped to a worrying degree last year, doctors recommended a kidney transplant.
Sanjeev didn't hesitate to get tested.
When he found out he was a match, he went under the knife to deliver on the pledge he made 17 years ago.
“When you’re that age, you say anything,” he says, laughing at the memory.
“Although I never thought it would come to that, I was serious about it.
It's been two months since Urisha received the life-saving surgery.
Her husband's kidney was the ultimate gift of love, she tells YOU.
“I’m so thankful for Sanjeev. We’ve been through so much,” she says from their home in Verulam, north of Durban.
She was 15 when she developed kidney stones. The condition is usually caused by drinking too little water or following a poor diet.
Though doctors had planned to remove the stones, when they opened her up they discovered the organ was so inflamed they had to remove it.
At the time Urisha says she "didn't think much of it", but she soon found that living with one kidney came with some challenges. She struggled with simple things like walking and unlike other teens her age, she couldn’t participate in sports activities because she tired easily.
Sanjeev was by her side through it all. The pair, who met in Grade 8, wed in 2015.
The couple were delighted when she fell pregnant but their joy was short-lived when her gynaecologist urged Urisha to terminate the pregnancy because she was in danger of suffering organ failure.
“If we kept the baby, it would have been born with disabilities and my life would be at risk,” she recalls.
In August last year, they were dealt another blow when Urisha suffered a miscarriage.
“I woke up the morning and discovered I was bleeding. By the end of the day I was rolling on the floor in pain."
The pair decided to put their pregnancy plans on hold until her health improved.
In November 2019 she started dialysis treatment but last year her doctor recommended a kidney transplant.
On 31 March, Sanjeev and Urisha were admitted to Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban where doctors successfully transplanted his kidney.
The couple spent a week in hospital before they were discharged to continue recuperating at home.
The past few years have been tough on Urisha, who lost her job as a human resources officer because she frequently stayed home due to her illness.
“It was all too much for me and I fell into a depression,” she says.
But things are certainly looking up for her now.
“We’re excited to start a family. It’s something I’ve always wanted,” says Urisha, who sought therapy for her mental-health problems.
She's also opened a doggy hotel and has big plans to expand her business.
“There are more doors in life I can open now. The possibilities are endless,” she says.