ABOVE: Brother and sister Rob Ross and Berenice Brew: Iol News.
Cape Town – Berenice Brew crossed an ocean to donate a kidney to her brother Rob Ross, who has been living with only one for 62 years.
Both Brew, 63, and Ross, 62, were born in South Africa, but moved to England. They returned when Ross was in Grade 11. Brew lives in Australia, and Ross in Port Elizabeth.
Ross said he was born with one kidney. It was while he was in England at the age of 12 when he visited a hospital for a back problem that doctors discovered it. Not only that, but they also found that the kidney was not in the correct location, which made it more susceptible to injury.
As a result, his parents became overly protective and would not allow him to play any contact sports such as rugby. Instead, they enrolled him at a school that offered golf.
Brew said she was aware of his condition, but it wasn’t until she started training as a nurse at Groote Schuur Hospital that she realised the extent of his condition. It was then she decided she would some day donate one of her kidneys to him.
Ross lived a fairly healthy life up until 20 years ago.
“Last year I started to feel really low and dialysis was started in August.”
Brew said this was also around the time it was decided he would need a transplant. Her initial plan that started 40 years ago was about to happen. But the road ahead was a long one – they lived oceans apart.
“We always knew we were the same blood type,” which she said made things easier.
In September last year they started their blood tests. Ross opted to have his transplant in Cape Town at Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital.
The operation is scheduled for Tuesday, with Brew’s operation taking four hours and Ross’s two hours.
Brew said she is very happy to help her brother.They are both excited, but are also anxious – as well emotionally exhausted.
“I feel as if I am helping to give him his life back. I didn’t want him to die on dialysis.”
Ross said he is most looking forward to having a proper shower, he has to be careful because of the pipes he has in his body that link him up the dialysis machine.
“I am also looking forward to playing golf again. I am incredibly grateful to my sister.”
Weekend Argus/Iol News