HT Special on Raksha Bandhan: Sibling love, worth a kidney and more
‘I can give a kidney for you!’ is perhaps one of the most overused one-liners that loved ones say to each other. Here are several cases, however, in which a sibling has gone to that length to save a brother’s or sister’s life. Three prominent local hospitals underlined the cases, and HT met and interacted with some such pairs of siblings on the eve of Raksha Bandhan, the festival that celebrates the sister-brother bond. Here are their stories:
‘SHE KEPT ME ALIVE’: GURMEET GOT KIDNEY FROM PRABHJIT
“She stepped into my mother’s shoes to gift me a new life,” said Gurmeet Singh (38) of Barnala in Punjab. He was employed with a private company but is on complete rest since the surgery in June. Gurmeet was given a kidney by his sister Prabhjit Kaur (42). “Without giving a second thought, she opted to be a donor after my mother, who was to donate a kidney originally, developed some complications,” said Gurmeet. Prabhjit, a teacher, has been asked to refrain from picking up heavy weights now. “Only a person who loves you more than herself can do this. I will remain indebted to her till am alive,” said Gurmeet.
‘I COULD NOT LET HER DIE’: HARDAVINDER, TO RUPAL
Though in most cases of sibling donors, the one giving the kidney is the sister to a brother, Hardavinder Singh is different. “I could not let her die,” he said of his sister Rupal Bagga (32), a mother of two. “Initially it was my bhabhi (brother’s wife) who had offered to donate a kidney; but since there were too many formalities as she is not a blood relative, my brother stepped up,” said Rupal, who is recovering.
Hoshiarpur resident Hardavinder, who drives a cab, is presently recovering and cannot work. “I cannot explain the gratitude I have for him. He is as an angel not just for me but the family as well,” added Rupal.
‘I DID NOT WANT HER TO DO IT’: HEERA GOT KIDNEY FROM ASHA
Heera Singh Daspa (32) underwent the transplant in March 2013, and got the organ donation from his sister Asha, who was 18 then. “It was a very difficult and emotional decision for me,” said Heera, who now stays in Gurgoan. “I kept telling her till the last moment that she did not have to do it. She was unmarried and just 18, with her entire life ahead of her. But all my requests were answered by silence,” said Heera. “I cannot pay back what she had done for me. Our bond has grown stronger though I deliberately do not talk about this to her as it is very emotional thing,” said Heera.
‘SHE DID NOT LET FATHER BE DONOR’: SAHIL, FROM SWATI
When Swati Sharma (25), a Panchkulabased aerobics trainer, got to know about her brother’s ill health, she was ready to do anything to help him. In July 2015, Swati’s brother, Sahil Sharma (24), had got a new job, but soon was diagnosed with hypertension. Further tests revealed kidney failure. “I underwent five surgeries in a year. There was one complication after another. Transplant was the only solution,” Sahil said, “My elder sister took the lead and said she would donate a kidney. She did not let our father be the donor.”
The transplant took place this August 1 at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER). “My sister is my savior. She has given me a new life. Whatever I will do for her will always be less than what she has done for me,” Sahil said.
Swati said she could not see her brother suffering: “Those dialysis sessions were draining the life out of him. I was eager to give him his normal life.”
She said that many people, including hospital staff, asked her to re-think as she is yet to get married and there could be social problems. “For me, my brother’s life was the priority, and that it will remain always.”
‘HE MEANS THE WORLD TO ME’: PRINCY, DONOR TO ARJUN
Seven years ago, on August 17, Princy Seth fought social pressures and took the decision to save her only brother’s life. She is married, was the mother of a child and planning to have a second. People told her she won’t be able to have a second child in case she donated kidney. Princy did not listen.
“My brother means the world to me. For me, no relationship is more important than the brother-sister bond. It was the worst phase of my life. I wanted to save him,” said Princy. It was 2007 when Arjun Bedi, then 19, underwent the transplant. Today, he is married and leading a healthy life. Princy gave birth to a boy three years after the donation.
‘TO WHOM WOULD I HAVE TIED RAKHI’: KAMLESH, TO KEWAL
“He is my younger brother and has little children to take care of. My children are settled in life, so it is fine if something happens to me; but my brother should stay healthy,” said Kamlesh Rani from Ambala. Kewal Kumar had not told his sister about the illness. “I went to meet him in Yamunanagar and found my sister-in-law crying. When I got to know what my brother was going through, I became restless and promised that I will not let anything wrong happen to him.” The transplant happened at Ivy Hospital in SAS Nagar, in June 2014. Both are leading a healthy life. “If something had happened to him, to whom would I have tied the rakhi (the sacred thread on Raksha Bandhan)?” she said.
‘IT WAS MY DUTY’: RAMESH, DONOR TO SISTER SURESH
Ramesh Kumar (48), from Fatehabad in Haryana donated one of his kidneys to sister Suresh Kumari (49) on August 9. She was suffering from kidney failure since the last three years. “She did not tell anyone in the family that she was going through so much pain. For the last three years, she was on medication and then on dialysis. I was taken aback when I got to know about her disease,” said Ramesh. “Though three family members agreed to donate, being the eldest in the family I took the decision of donating my kidney,” said Ramesh, who was discharged from Ivy hospital on Saturday.
‘In most cases, donors are women’
Dr Avinash Srivastava, director of renal transplant surgery at Ivy Hospital, SAS Nagar, said, “We have been carrying out kidney transplant for the last seven years, and we have seen that in 85% cases the donors from the family are female. In very few cases, men come forward when it comes to donating a kidney.”
At Fortis Hospital, in the last four years 16 siblings have donated a kidney in which only one case was that of a brother being the donor. Legally and medically, a blood relative — parent or sibling — is preferred as it means little to no complication.
Of the 240 surgeries at Fortis in the past four years, all cases are of blood relatives, while the same is true for the 500 cases at Ivy, claim the hospital authorities.