January 29, 2023

June is National Kidney Month.
The number of patients with endstage kidney failure continues to rise worldwide, so does the need for kidney donors.
Let me share the thoughts of Samson T. Tee who donated a kidney to his mother, Elaine, on Nov. 19, 2001 in a kidney transplantation done in Baguio City.
Samson is the eldest of Elaine’s three children. He finished Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, major in Biology and Chemistry. He is currently a senior supervisor at Startek in Makati where he resides with his wife and their son.


“The decision to donate my kidney was not an easy one. It took me a lot of courage, and I had to observe a lot of precautions before going under the knife. It took a lot of preparations – not only to be physically healthy but also mentally. Anxiety was one of the greatest battles I had. I had a lot of “what ifs” before the transplant, and I had to conquer the fear of not being able to make it after the operation. Fear for myself and for my mother.
I never had a chance to share my experience about being a donor, but I like to take this opportunity to encourage others especially if they are doing it for their loved ones. It may be risky as people say but doing so is worth it. People said that I sacrificed a lot, but I felt like I did myself a favor. We could have lost our mom when I was 19 years old, my brother was 13, and our youngest was seven. With that little piece of me (kidney) given to my mom, she was able to see us live our lives and achieve our dreams (what parents always dreamt of). My mom was able to witness the three of us finish our schooling, realize our own dreams and build our families. Eighteen years after being a kidney transplant patient, she succumbed to an infection on March 12, 2020. If you’ll ask me if I had a chance to go back in time, will I do the same again? Yes, because it was so worth it. It meant everything to me.
Being an organ donor just gave me a scar. For 20 years with only one kidney, I never had any complications. I can do the things I love to do, I play contact sports, I go to the gym, and eat whatever I like.I never felt that there is something missing (physiologically) in me. What is important is whether we have one or two kidneys, we should be living a healthy lifestyle. As what doctors say, prevention is always better than cure.


The operations were done at the Saint Louis University Hospital of the Sacred Heart. The late urologist Dr. Andres S. Marrero performed the donor nephrectomy (surgical removal of the kidney to be donated) and Dr. Benito Purugganan a vascular surgeon based at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute did the kidney transplantation.
There were no complications encountered during both procedures. Elaine was discharged after seven days and Samson after three days. It was the first kidney transplantation done in the city and in the Cordillera. It was not followed by subsequent transplants, but the successful procedure fulfilled its goal – to show that the city and Cordillera has always been ready for specialty procedures as early as in 2001.


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