Becoming a donor for Philippe

Our son Philippe was diagnosed from birth with Chronic Kidney Disease; an incurable but manageable condition. As we tried to come to terms with this, we learned early on that he would need a kidney transplant, and relatively soon. A little over two years ago our search for a matching donor began.

Both my wife Konstantina and myself were obviously the first to be tested. As parents, our tissue type is compatible, but to our dismay, we have different blood types from Philippe. This meant we’re unsuitable to become direct donors. As a parent, there isn’t a worse feeling in the universe; not being able to help your child. We were both shocked and floored that neither of us could donate to our son.

We then reached out to family and close friends, asking who, with the same blood type, would want to be tested and if matched, was willing to become a donor. Unfortunately, no match was found. Even though Philippe had only 5% total kidney function and was borderline to going on dialysis, he remained stable and strong. At this time, he was just 18 months old.

We continued our search, broadening our sphere, posting about our situation on social media. The response was tremendous, with many people coming forward, sending blood samples to the UK from many parts of Europe to be tested for compatibility. A suitable match and, at least at that point, a dedicated altruistic donor was found. We were filled with hope that someone was prepared to do this for our son. But that hope faded over a tantalizing nine-month period, paying for trips to London from out of the country, only to be left in agony from the donor’s lack of willingness to communicate with the hospital and ourselves. This past October, after months of effort, planning, and final scheduling, the potential donor dropped out a week prior to the operation.

Our hearts sunk. There are no words to describe the disappointment we and our families felt. But time was of the essence. We had to move past it. We had to keep searching for another solution.

There is a program run by the NHS in the UK called the Kidney Paired Scheme. Simply put, it is a kidney exchange program. I have been enrolled in this program since the day I found out I could not directly donate to my son. For almost two years there were no successful matches. Two weeks after the heart-breaking news that we had lost our donor, I surprisingly received the call saying a match was found via the Paired Scheme.  I am now able to donate a kidney so that my son can receive one that is compatible to him. I cannot express the joy that filled me, and at the same time the worry that filled my wife, who was about to have the two of us undergoing a major surgery… on the same day.

This Thursday, 25th January, both Philippe and I will be operated on. I will be giving one of my kidneys and my son will be receiving the transplant he needs. It is a huge milestone for him and for our family. A milestone that brings with it may new challenges.

Post-transplant, Philippe will be on a new regiment of medications that he will have to take for as long as his transplanted kidney lasts (The transplant is not a cure, it’s only a means of managing his condition. He will definitely need a second transplant later on in life), and for the next nine months he will be required to visit the hospital for tests and monitoring almost daily.

I, per doctor’s orders, will not be able to work or do any strenuous activity for three months. Only after this time frame and having made a full recovery, will I be allowed to gradually get back into a “normal” routine. This obviously puts a financial strain on my family, since I am the sole earner, working two jobs. My wife will continue to be the full-time carer for our son.

These next few months will certainly be testing and stressful. Although the decision to do so was not an easy one, this is the reason why I decided to create this Go Fund Me account. Any show of support from our friends, until I am up to strength and able to hit the ground running again, would be greatly appreciated to say the least. It would make a world of difference.

Thank you with all my heart if you’ve read this far. I wish everyone health and nothing short of the best.

Sincerely,
Damian

Donations

  • Zevelyn Manolatos 
    • £25 
    • 27 mos
  • Alyssa Barbelet 
    • £10 
    • 27 mos
  • Pierre Hausemer 
    • £100 
    • 27 mos
  • Nina Romano 
    • £75 
    • 28 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • £20 
    • 28 mos
See all

Organizer

Damian Argi 
Organizer
Crayford, Greater London, United Kingdom
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