University of Portsmouth student faces fourth Christmas waiting for kidney donor

A STUDENT waiting for an organ transplant has told how her mum donated a kidney only for her body to tragically reject it.

Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Sunday, 2nd January 2022, 5:27 pm

University of Portsmouth student Alisha Gokani, 23, is spending her fourth Christmas waiting for a kidney.

She was diagnosed at seven with a rare condition that saw her kidneys fail.

Her mum donated one 'without a second thought' but despite huge NHS efforts her body rejected the kidney in August 2017 at 19.

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Alisha Gokani is studying Business and Management at the University of Portsmouth is spending her fourth Christmas waiting on the organ donation list for a kidney transplant.

Alisha is speaking out now as NHS Blood and Transplant calls on families in Hampshire to talk about donations - with 129 patients on the organ donor waiting list in the county.

Alisha initially had to take time away from study when her kidney failed, and needs a live donor to come forward.

She said: 'Every day is a struggle as I’m faced with complete exhaustion from having treatment 4 times a week alongside full-time education. Dialysis has been the only way to keep me as healthy as possible whilst I painfully wait for the call.

'I have also been told that a living donor from the same ethnicity as me (Indian) would be the best possible match.

'As I have had a transplant before my body has created a lot of antibodies which provides extra challenges so I could be waiting a very long time. If a live donor came forward my antibodies can be removed to match the donors just before surgery, everything could be planned and controlled for the best possible outcome.

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'Waiting for a kidney and being on dialysis during the pandemic has also thrown in extra complications making life waiting for a transplant so much harder. Initially I was shielding in a flat on my own away from family and friends, I attended university online and had to be so very careful every time I left the house for dialysis.

'As restrictions eased, I was however able to return to university and I also completed my university placement year working at one of the best global tech companies in the world!

'As I face my fourth Christmas waiting for a transplant, I try to make the best of things, I am incredibly excited to be able to see my family again this year and I have arranged for dialysis to take place near home so I can spend some extra time there but across Christmas can I please ask people to discuss their organ donation wishes with their family.

'That could be by joining the register to donate their organs after they die or maybe looking to see if Living donation is something they could consider.

'Living donation is a big ask and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but as a little Christmas present this year, I am kindly asking people to read more about organ donation, talk to their family and discuss their wishes.’

Some 42 people in Hampshire have received donations form deceased people this year.

Anthony Clarkson, at NHSBT, said: ‘Please take a moment this Christmas to let your family know your organ donation decision.

‘Those conversations could help save the lives of people currently spending their Christmas waiting for a transplant.’

For more and to sign up, see organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.

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