Desperate plea from Portsmouth University student for a kidney: ‘Every day is a struggle’

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Alisha Gokani is one of more than 4,600 people in the UK waiting for a kidney transplant and NHS Blood and Transplant says it expects that figure to rise in the coming years.

At the age of seven, Alisha was diagnosed with a rare disease which meant her kidneys would fail before she was a teenager.

At this point, her mother donated one of her own kidneys, but unfortunately the transplant was rejected.

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Alisha, who is studying at the University of Portsmouth, explains: “It wasn’t as easy as we thought, and even with treatment and attempts at prevention, I kept getting infections and eventually got over it. rejected this kidney at 19.

“Since then I’ve been on dialysis, as a young adult trying to get a degree, it hasn’t been the easiest. I’ve had to completely rearrange my life, stepping away from college initially, but luckily I was able to return.”

But despite continuing to study, the 23-year-old admits: “Every day is a struggle as I face complete exhaustion from having treatment four times a week alongside full-time education.”



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Alisha was told that the best case scenario would be to receive a kidney from a living donor of the same ethnicity as her, as her body has created a lot of antibodies, which poses additional challenges.

This could leave him waiting years for a match, whereas if a living donor came forward, his antibodies could be drawn to match those of the donor just before surgery.

However, kidney transplants have been the hardest hit area of ​​organ transplantation throughout the pandemic, with deceased donor transplants down 22% and living donor transplants down 60%.

This means that 422 patients received living organ donation in 2020/21 instead of the usual 1,000.

People can donate a lifetime kidney to a relative or friend, but they can also choose to donate their kidney anonymously and it will go to a high priority patient on the transplant list.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation, at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We know the pandemic is a very worrying time for kidney patients, as thousands of people, including 123 patients in Hampshire, expect a change of life. kidney transplant.

“We are happy that transplant activity is resuming and we are doing everything we can to allow as many transplants as possible to take place as quickly as possible.

“Unfortunately, patients are facing a longer wait and more people are in need of kidney transplants, so it’s more important than ever for people in Hampshire to share their organ donation decision with their families to help others after they pass away.And if anyone in Hampshire is willing to consider living kidney donation, they can find out more on our website.

Meanwhile, Alisha calls on families to have important discussions about kidney transplants, especially in light of the pandemic which is creating additional complications and lengthening waiting lists.

“Living donation is a big ask and something that should not be taken lightly, but I kindly ask people to learn more about organ donation, talk to their family and discuss their decision. .”

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