SAMANTHA Pierre is a determined vibrant, bubbly and courageous young woman who is living with a life threatening condition — her kidneys have failed.
Pierre was diagnosed with renal failure two years ago and since then she has been enduring dialysis treatments at least three days a week to stay alive. If she does not get treatment, she will die.
Patients usually require dialysis when the kidneys lack the ability to cleanse the body of waste products. The waste products in the body become so high that patients become sick.
Many people do not even realise they have the illness until their condition deteriorates, as in the case of Pierre.
Pierre, a storyteller/teacher who uses storytelling as a tool to educate children regionally, was completely ignorant of the illness. Her only knowledge of renal failure was that people living with HIV/AIDS succumb to the illness.
“Before I was diagnosed with the illness, I associated it with AIDS. I never knew exactly what renal failure was. In fact, in 2006, when they told me that my kidneys had failed, I wanted to know how I contracted AIDS.
“I broke down, trying to figure out how I was going to deal with it. Eventually, they told me that they would put my name on a list for dialysis. I knew the list was long. They told me once they found a slot for me for treatment, the cost would have been subsidised by the government.
“I worried about finding the funds to pay for treatment. Then they told me I had to talk to a social worker to determine my financial situation,” Pierre explained.
The number of people needing a transplant continues to rise faster than the number of donors. Right now, there are approximately 500 people in TT in need of kidney transplants and the number grows by 40 each year. A very large number of people die each year waiting for a transplant.
For those who need dialysis treatment and are not fortunate to get it for free, the cost is overwhelming. In some cases a patient pays $1,000 a day for treatment. The life saving treatment can cost a patient up to $3000 —$4,000 a week.
Eventually, Pierre was signed up with the National Organ Transplant Unit, at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, where she receives free dialysis treatment for four hours, three days a week. However, there is only one thing that stands between the hard working mother and living a long fruitful life - she desperately needs an organ donor. Read the full article.
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