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'Hey, do you want a kidney?'
Palwinder Thandi never gave up hope when she was put on the donor list for a new kidney.
But the last thing she expected was to have friend Megan Hoole step up and offer one of hers.
“March of this year, I was very ill and I just about didn't make it,” Thandi said. Thandi suffered from renal failure and many infections related to dialysis. But thanks to Hoole's generous donation made on May 9th, Thandi is back to her normal self.
Hoole and Thandi have known each other for the past seven years and as the saying goes, opposites attract. Thandi is an outspoken, outgoing, extravert, while Hoole is more private and introspective.
“I didn't know her that well,” Hoole said. “But I really liked her, she's such a good person, a nice person.” So when she found out about Thandi's condition, she already knew what she should do.
“At this time in my life I was in a place where I could do it so I thought she could probably have one of mine,” Hoole explained.
“She’s just a year older than me and I thought that was way too young to have to be saddled with dialysis,” Hoole said. “It’s a huge burden.”
“Megan phoned me up and said, ‘I hear you’re in the market for a new kidney,’” Thandi said.
That phone call happened almost a year ago to the day and Hoole said it was the first time she had ever called Thandi.
“It definitely took her by surprise,” Hoole said. “Not often people call up saying, ‘hey, do you want a kidney?’”
“Funny part about it was, I’m East Indian and I didn’t realize that someone who was Caucasian could give me a kidney!” Thandi said, “I thought it would be hard to find, but then my doctor told me that we’re all pink on the inside and that stuck with Meg and I.”
Thandi was excited, but she had been told by doctors in Prince George that a lot of people would want to help and they will come forward, but only a small percentage will actually go through with the donation procedure.
“Megan went ahead on her own and was tested and it wasn't until we found out that we were a match that I was like, 'wow, you're really going to go through with this,'” Thandi said.
The two had to undergo physical and psychological assessments in Vancouver and Megan passed with flying colours, explained Thandi.
“It was really easy, I never had any second thoughts about it,” Hoole said adding that the surgery aspect of the donation wasn't a concern to her at all as she had been under the knife a few times before.
Hoole and Thandi were booked into an operating room within three weeks of the examination and the surgery was complete with no complications. Thandi stayed in an apartment in Vancouver while she recovered with her husband and mother keeping her company. She returned home to Terrace three weeks ago. She was released early due to her speedy recovery.
Hoole stayed in Vancouver for five days post-op and then returned home to Terrace to finish recovering.
“The first couple of weeks were the toughest, but I feel good,” Hoole said. “I'm back to normal now, and I don't feel like I'm missing anything,” adding that the scars are minimal so that's a bonus.
As for their relationship, Hoole said they are definitely closer.
“I will always keep an eye on her,” she said.
Now that both of them are home, happy and healthy they can see just how eye-opening this experience was for them.
“If this could happen to me than it could happen to anybody,” Thandi said.
Hoole and Thandi both agree that those in need of a donation shouldn't shy away from seeking help or support from friends and family.
“You never know where it's going to come from,” Hoole said. “More and more people are realizing that it's a fairly common surgery, and they're pretty good at it now.” She added that her health benefits plan had a donor leave option so she could take the time off work without losing pay, she suggested that those interested in donating check their plans as well.
“I would totally encourage people thinking about doing it to doing it. For me it didn't matter how close I was whether it was an acquaintance or someone close to me,” Hoole said. “Plus, I know this has totally changed her life for a while. And she's not missing dialysis at all.”