Canada News

How a daughter saved her father’s life

15 May 2009 at 01:35 | 1252 views

By Laura Kuboniwa, Vancouver, Canada.

Aaron Asante was a man three times blessed when all of his children were deemed positive matches to give him the gift of a healthy kidney in 2007. For more than 15 years Asante had dealt with chronic kidney infections.

“It was not working,” said the native of Ghana, who immigrated to Canada with his wife and children in 1980. The kidney problems began “the first year I was here.”

In February of 2007 his youngest daughter, Olivia, then 25, donated her right kidney to her father. She was a perfect match, as her two siblings also were. However, “my older daughter was pregnant, and my son was in the United States,” said Asante, who had already lost one kidney due to infection.

“The other was performing normally, then it started burning down,” he said.

“[Olivia] saw the situation, that I was going through, and decided what to do.”

For four months, the 52-year-old Asante underwent frequent dialysis. When Olivia knew the particulars of her father’s situation, she took it upon herself to do some research, and determined that Asante’s kidney problems were just an infection and not hereditary. Knowing this, she went through six months of counselling before deciding to donate her kidney to her father.

“She did everything on her own, before she even told us,” Asante said.

“At that time it was about 10 per cent.”

Asante didn’t have much to do to prepare for the operation, which took place over five hours and kept him in the hospital for 10 days, while Olivia was released in a week’s time. With a new kidney functioning in his system, he knows not to be overly optimistic.

“There’s nothing like 100 per cent, because anything can happen,” he said.

As it is he needs to return to the hospital every two months for checkups. Recovery is a long process, he said.

“It takes about six months to a year to be a little bit better,” he said, adding that the operation hinders his immune system.

“You have to be very, very careful.”

So far, though, all is going well. It has been going on two years and he’s coming along slowly, but feeling considerably better. But with a hindered immune system, he has to be extra careful.

“Since the operation I have been in and out of hospital several times, because when the weather changes, it changes your style of living and anything can happen to your kidney,” he said. “It decides how you do things.”

Even food needs to be considered carefully. Prior to receiving his new kidney, he had to avoid foods like bananas and grapes, “because it’s too much acid in the system,” he said.

He no longer needs dialysis, unless the functionality of his new kidney is compromised, and he will need to be on medication for the rest of his life, but that life has been greatly improved thanks to the sacrifice of his daughter, Olivia.