Sunday, 9 December 2012

Wedding anniversary gift of life from ‘angel’ wife

Posted on The Malay Mail, June 26, 2012, Tuesday
Article by: Andrew Sagayam
ANGEL BY HIS SIDE: Melissa keeps Manvir company.
FIRST he stole her heart. Now, she will give him her kidney. If anything epitomises true love, it is the sacrifice of Melissa Anantharaj for her husband Jeremiah Manvir. After 10 years of dialysis, Manvir is to finally get a new lease of life, thanks to his wife.

The couple who has been married for a year will undergo a kidney transplant at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, today, when Melissa will donate one of her kidneys to Manvir.

“I cannot see him in this situation, anymore. He has gone through too much,” said the 36-year-old public relations practitioner.

“I did my research, went to online forums, talked to doctors and found that a human can survive on one kidney,” Melissa told The Malay Mail over the weekend.

“I gave my heart to him, last year, and our first wedding anniversary (July 30) is coming up. My kidney to him would be my anniversary present,” she said.

Manvir, 44, director of a sports and events management company, said he was blessed to have Melissa in his life.

"I am a lucky man. She is giving me a new lease of life. When I told her of my condition, she understood and accepted that being with me means that she had to make sacrifices also," he said.

"From day one, she has been with me. She is my angel." The couple said preparations for the surgery had taken a toll on them.

"We could not travel anywhere or even go for a holiday. I had to be with Manvir and accompany him for four years for his dialysis treatment, thrice a week," Melissa said.

"We have to watch our expenses as the we need money for dialysis treatment and medication."

Manvir said the reason why the couple opted for the kidney transplant was that they gave up on waiting for a donor.

"We are disappointed with the present healthcare for kidney failure patients. Instead of a kidney transplant, we instead are forced to go for dialysis treatment, several times a week," he said.

Manvir who has spent more than RM200,000 on dialysis treatment said he still has to work.

"Someone has to pay the bills and most people in my working circle don't know what I am going through.

"A decade of my life just flew by and I can't get it back. I don’t want sympathy but if I was cured 10 years ago, I would definitely be a more productive member of society.

"I owe it to myself to make my life better," he said, adding what was more frustrating is living with the knowledge that he could easily be cured.

Melissa said the couple's decision to go ahead with the kidney transplant received objections from both families.

"They were not aware that a kidney transplant procedure is pretty straightforward and safe. After much convincing, they finally accepted our decision," she said.

The couple believes Malaysia should follow the organ transplant system in Singapore where organ transplant is compulsory under The Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA).

The Act provides an opt-out organ donation system that allows for the removal of kidneys, livers, hearts and corneas from deceased Singaporeans above the age of 21.

The Act also regulates organ donation by living persons.

"They can do it here. The Health Ministry has always been saying we have world-class facilities but how about having a world-class mentality as well?" asked Manvir.

Manvir said families of organ donors need to understand they are saving lives.

"Yes, your family has the right to deny harvesting of organs. But two kidneys can save two lives. It is from their own free will that donors have donated their organs.

"The families must realise they, too, would need an organ donation someday," he said.

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