“I've got two. You can have one," are the selfless words of Probation Officer Nicci Sarah.
She took Corrections' commitment to change lives to a whole new level when she donated one of her kidneys to her colleague Te Taiete Eketone.
Corrections Officer Te was diagnosed with kidney failure in January 2012. For over two years when he wasn’t on shift at Spring Hill Corrections Facility he spent 20 hours a week attached to a dialysis machine.
After seeing the condition take its toll on Te Nicci, a Senior Corrections Officer at the time, made a decision that ultimately saved Te’s life.
“I had never thought about a live kidney donation until I saw Te suffering. When I knew I could help save his life nothing was going to stop me” says Nicci.
Five years on from the transplant, Nicci and Te are encouraging people to start a korero about kidney disease as part of Waikato District Health Board’s Give One, Gift Life campaign. The DHB are calling for more live kidney donors to help reduce transplant waiting times and save lives.
“Kidney disease is more common in Māori, but live donors are less common. Talking about donation is key to savings someone’s life”, says Nicci.
Kidneys filter the blood so if they're not working properly the body fills up with excess wastes and water. Approximately 600 New Zealanders a year can wait up to four years for a kidney transplant.
The average recovery time for a kidney donor is four to six weeks, and donors can receive compensation for loss of earnings in the 12 weeks prior to surgery.
Find out more about becoming a kidney donor