ORGAN DONATION. Lynn Reyes (left), the beneficiary of one of the kidneys of Caney Macion, her niece, talks about their journey in battling chronic kidney disease, during the culmination of Organ Donation Week on Friday (Nov. 25, 2022). Reyes said the organ donation took place in 2016 and she has been in good shape and dialysis treatment-free for the past six years. (PNA photo by Che Palicte) 

DAVAO CITY – Not all heroes wear capes, others are just ordinary citizens. 

Lynn Reyes, 55, a chronic kidney disease (CKD) patient, knows after receiving a kidney from a donor six years ago.

Reyes recounted that in 2015 when she was diagnosed with the disease, she lost all hope of finding an organ donor and accepted the fact that she would be under dialysis treatment for a lifetime.

She said she took the dialysis treatment for four months and realized that she would be doing the procedure continuously.

“Although the only solution to my problem is a donor, still, I did not look for it. I don’t want to be a burden to my family,” she told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview on Friday.

However, after four months of battling CKD, Lyn got the good news. She found a match in her niece, Caney Macion.

The organ donation took place in 2016 and Lynn has been in good shape and dialysis treatment-free for more than six years now.

Reyes said despite having a healthy kidney again, she is never complacent and follows a strict diet and healthy lifestyle.

“We have to take care of ourselves. The good thing here is, we can go out, we can be with our family, and no more dialysis,” she said.

The living donor Caney Macion, a nurse, said she decided to give her other kidney to her aunt because she saw how hopeless and stressed Lynn was.

She admitted to being afraid at first but never felt hesitant to undergo the procedure.

“I asked God for a sign. I chose to help her despite the hesitancy of my husband because of fear. But eventually, he accepted and supported my decision,” Macion said.

She said that being in the medical field, she remained confident that she could take care of herself after the surgery.

“It is my first time to undergo a major operation and I was nervous. All I was thinking about was to extend the life of my aunt who I looked up to as a mother,” she said.

Macion urged those who have a family member undergoing dialysis to try organ donation and not believe in the misconception that removing one of your kidneys would result in loss of life.

“I felt no changes at all, but instead, it leads me to practice a healthy lifestyle. There is nothing to fear as long as you will not abuse your health,” she said.

Dreaming of a kidney transplant 

Meanwhile, Jiezl Lane Tabay, a kidney patient, said she has been undergoing dialysis for 20 years but remains hopeful for a kidney transplant.

She was diagnosed with kidney failure at the age of 18 and has since been on the waiting list.

“I can say that I have struggled a lot with this disease,” Tabay said. “Last year, doctors also found out that I have uterine cancer but luckily, it was removed and I have recovered from it.”

She said an organ transplant is necessary for her but having a slim chance to get one is a big challenge for her and others.

“I am still optimistic and I pray that one day I’ll have a donor,” Tabay said.

Organ donations pushed 

In time for Friday’s culmination of Organ Donation Week, Dr. Ma. Theresa Bad-ang, nephrologist and head of the Southern Philippines Medical Center - Human Advocate and Retrieval Effort, said their thrust in pushing for organ donations would continue to help other patients who needed transplantation.

“We need to acknowledge those unsung heroes who give part of their life to others,” she said.

She also reiterated her call for awareness of the care of body organs, describing the cases of organ failures in the city as "alarming."

Bad-ang said one of the challenges confronting them is the refusal of family members to allow their patients with irreversible loss of brain function to donate some of their organs.

"Also, we are pushing for deceased organ donors because we are trying to stop the illegal buying and selling of kidneys. If we cannot get living donors, then we have to opt for deceased donors,” she said. (PNA)