Kidney a gift from daughter

BACK ON TRACK: Anna Stehr is getting her health back on track after a kidney transplant last year. Mrs Stehr is passionate about her business Anna's Vineyard and had to place her input on hold for a short time, and is looking forward to being more involved again.
BACK ON TRACK: Anna Stehr is getting her health back on track after a kidney transplant last year. Mrs Stehr is passionate about her business Anna's Vineyard and had to place her input on hold for a short time, and is looking forward to being more involved again.

ORGAN donation is the greatest gift anyone can give, says Anna Stehr.

With DonateLife Week next week, Mrs Stehr can attest to how vital organ donation is, after her daughter Yasmin donated a kidney to her last year.

Yasmin immediately offered to help when her mother was told she would need a transplant after suffering kidney malfunction from long-term use of prescription drugs that she didn't know could damage her health.

Mrs Stehr said her daughter's sacrifice was extremely selfless.

"I really didn't want her to do it," she said.

"I said 'You're still young, you might want to have more children and it could be a handicap'.

"She said, 'Mum, I love you, I want to do this,' and there was no arguing with her.

"She had to put her affairs in order in case something happened.

"She sacrificed her life for a few months to prepare for it, then there was the surgery, then having to be careful after the surgery.

"Without my daughter I wouldn't have had a life.

"She's given me a gift - the gift of life, freedom and being able to travel again."

Mrs Stehr said she and her husband Hagen loved to travel, but dialysis had made it difficult.

She had to be on dialysis for six weeks to get strong enough for the transplant operation, and had to relocate to Adelaide for treatment for the first two weeks until a place opened up at the Port Lincoln dialysis unit.

"It was a horrible thing, having dialysis three times a week for four hours, being attached to a machine."

She started dialysis on September 18 and underwent surgery on November 13.

"The outcome for me was magnificent."

After surgery she had to live in Adelaide for six weeks and get checked at the hospital every day.

"I was on an enormous amount of anti-rejection tablets, which is not great for the immune system."

She still has to go back for regular checkups and will need to be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life, though the dosage should reduce gradually over time.

Mrs Stehr said the ordeal would be harder for those who had to wait for a donor.

She said the organ donor's gift was precious.

"Without the donor there's nothing; it's just a waiting game."

The process is simple.

"You get tested to make sure you're compatible and there's no risk to the donor or the recipient.

"Everything's covered.

"Yasmin was in Adelaide after surgery for about a week; she had the surgery on the Wednesday and was out on the Friday.

"We had great support from the Royal Adelaide Hospital renal team."

DonateLife Week is Australia's national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation.

Organisers are asking Australians to "have the chat" with their loved ones, as in Australia the family of a potential donor is always asked to confirm the donation wishes of their loved one before organ or tissue donation can proceed.

For more information visit donatelife.gov.au

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