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Oct 11, 2006

Kidney transplant patient doing well

Story PictureIf there is a good side to the many trials and tribulations that citizens often face, it is that despite our problems, the Belizean public has been unfailingly generous when misfortune strikes. Today I got a chance to report on one happy result of that generosity.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
After undergoing a kidney transplant almost two months ago in Guatemala, twenty-two year old Ryan Richards is back home feeling a little uncomfortable but very lucky to be alive. However it will be another month until it will be safe for him to remove the mask he must wear to avoid germs. Richards, suffered total renal failure and underwent surgery to remove the left organ. Richards who graduated from Edward P. Yorke High School in 2003 was looking forward to pursuing a higher education at S.J.C. sixth form, but one year later his kidneys failed and he needed immediate dialysis treatment. Richards says he does not know what the future holds for him but he has managed to get through some very critical moments.

Ryan Richards, Kidney Transplant Patient
?Because the machine actually takes out your blood and replaces it right, and sometimes I would catch like blackouts and those sorts of things on the machine and chills. And when I was in that state I would tell my mom I do not think I will make it mom, and my mom told me not to give up, not give up. I prayed to the Lord and I asked him to please help me.?

As Richards got worse, the illness took a toll on his family. Therese Clother had to sell most of her assets to get the medical attention her son desperately needed to stay alive. She also had to render emotional support.

Therese Clother, Mother
?He sometimes gets very miserable and upset because of the pain and the suffering that he was going through. He has gotten very thin. He has lost a lot of weight during the kidney failure and his skin was tripping and he was throwing up. He had a lot of pain.?

Dr. Egbert Grinage, President, F.O.P.
?The exact cause of his kidney failure I don?t think has been worked out as to what causes hypertension. He developed hypertension at a very young age and you know that hypertension can affect the blood vessels leading to your kidney making them become narrowed. And actually it seemed that he had it undetected for a while and that knocked out his kidneys.?

The family desperately reached out to anyone who would help them. Kidney specialist Dr. Miguel Rosado and Friends of Paediatrics President Dr. Egbert Grinage heard those cries.

Dr. Egbert Grinage
?He was holding on to a lot of water and fluids and getting oedematous or swollen. His heart was enlarging and things did not look good.?

Ryan lost a total of sixty pounds. It was not long before other concerned individuals and organizations came to the rescue. Through the assistance of Nzinga Barklely-Waight and Area representative Anthony ?Boots? Martinez? The Liberty Foundation, Belize Rotary and the community of San Pedro Ambergris Caye, Richards was quickly able to get the transplant.

Dr. Egbert Grinage
?For us helping Ryan was a departure somewhat from what we normally do. Because we normally help people with very reversible disorders like children who needs operations and/or children who undergo cancer chemotherapy. It was heart stopping to see this young man at twenty-one, who was nineteen at the time, was going to lose his life if he didn?t get dialysis and if he didn?t get a kidney transplant.?

Myshanta Richards has been by her brother?s side. In fact she had offered to donate one of her kidneys but tests showed that it was not one hundred percent compatible. However Ryan?s mother was a perfect match.

Ryan Richards
?I cannot say anything, I am very thankful for that. My mom gave me one of her kidney and I will forever be thankful for that. I want to thank the Lord most of all.?

Therese Clother
?I cannot explain in words how I am feeling right now, but I am overwhelmed. I am very happy that I am his mother and I was able to give him a kidney.?

F.O.P.?s President Dr. Grinage says while Richards and his family have managed to cross the biggest hurdle, there will be a period of uncertainty because there is that possibility that Ryan?s body can reject the new organ. That is why F.O.P. is counting on public support to help Richards fight his next challenge: paying for the immunosuppressive drugs he will need to take for the rest of his life

Dr. Egbert Grinage
?This is basic principles. Any patient who receives a transplant of any kid whether it be bone marrow, pancreas, kidney, heart or whatever organ/intestine they need to be put on drugs, which will prevent their body from rejecting this organ.?

Therese Clother
?And he is a young person and I would really like them to help me keep him that way, so he can further his studies and get a good job in the future.?

Ryan Richards
?Well I actually want to go back to school, because I actually finish my four years of high school. So I was planning to go to sixth form to further my studies.?

Friends of Paediatrics has promised to donate a one year supply of the medication. It is hoped that public support will assist Ryan in getting continued supplies. If you would like to contribute, contact either Dr. Egbert Grinage at telephone number 610-2889 or Therese Clother at 607-9215.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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