“As a mother, it is natural that I would always want to give than to receive from my children.”
The above rings true for Mdm Lita Binte Mohamed Said, 63. Mdm Lita toiled and took on three jobs so that she would be able to put her then three young children through school, ensure that there is food on the table and a roof over their heads. After her three children entered the workforce, Mdm Lita thought she could finally focus on pursuing her own interests and dreams, including embarking on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca. Alas, it did not happen.
When Mdm Lita was 34 and pregnant with her youngest child, Mohamed Helmy Bin Mohamed Jalal, she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The condition did not go away even after Helmy was born. Unfortunately, Mdm Lita did not pay special attention to her condition, diet or lifestyle, as she was too occupied making ends meet.
In 2018, Mdm Lita started experiencing bouts of nausea and dizziness. A trip to the hospital revealed that her kidneys were failing due to poorly controlled diabetes. Mdm Lita had to be on emergency dialysis, with a catheter inserted into her neck to initiate haemodialysis immediately to save her life.
How could she afford the expensive dialysis treatments when she could no longer work due to the restrictive dialysis schedules? Mdm Lita was also hospitalised for long periods away from her family and travelling was out of the question. The thought of living the rest of her life hooked up to a dialysis machine brought tears to Mdm Lita’s eyes and she contemplated death multiple times.
When Helmy and his siblings knew that a kidney transplant was the best treatment option for kidney failure, they were willing to donate one of theirs to her. However, Mdm Lita would not hear of it. “I didn’t want any of my children to risk surgery and get hurt. I was more concerned about their health than mine. They are still young. But the doctor explained to me that the living donor would still have another kidney and a lot of people continue to lead healthy lives with only one kidney,” shared Mdm Lita.
“It was without hesitation that I would donate my kidney to my mum, she sacrificed her health and life to raise me up to who I am today. My mum is the woman who gave me life. I would do it all over again just to give her a kidney.“
– Mr Mohamed Helmy, who gave his mother a new lease of life
Eventually, Mdm Lita relented after talking to her doctor and children. Helmy and his siblings were tested and Helmy was found to be a suitable match. He was overjoyed at the opportunity to donate a kidney to his mother. The kidney transplant surgery was successfully performed in 2020 despite multiple postponements due to Covid-19.
“I wanted to give my kidney to my mum so that she could go on holiday trips with us and we could spend many more happy years with her. After the transplant, my mum was finally able to realise her dream of travelling to Mecca for her pilgrimage trip. She was so happy,” said Helmy, now 29.
Mdm Lita and Helmy shared that they hope their story will encourage more people to consider living kidney donation and help them understand that it gives life – it does not take it away. As beneficiary of the NKF Kidney Live Donor Support Fund, Helmy’s transplant-related expenses and post-surgery annual medical check-ups were taken care of.
Mdm Lita says she is feeling a lot better than she had in years. She has more energy and exercises to Zumba and Yoga YouTube videos for seniors every morning. Mdm Lita and Helmy also enjoy unwinding to gore-filled zombie movies and series on Netflix. Mdm Lita also pays close attention to her diet to ensure her weight stays in an optimal range and goes for regular screenings at the hospital. In her free time, she also enjoys cooking for her family and leisure walks with her granddaughter and Helmy in the neighbourhood.
It was without hesitation that I would donate my kidney to my mum, she sacrificed her health and life to raise me up to who I am today. My mum is the woman who gave me life. I would do it all over again just to give her a kidney,” professed Helmy.
“It was such a brave thing for him to do,” shared Mdm Lita.