Jayakrishnan PK, a native of Palakkad in Kerala, and Seetha Thampi, a native of Kottayam, were strangers until they bonded with each other over a kidney transplant for the former. Jayakrishnan is an orphan. When all the members in his family refused to donate their kidney, it was Seetha who decided to step forward and give the teenager a new lease of life.
Jayakrishnan was in class 11 when he first started experiencing changes in his body. In late 2017, he started gaining weight, his legs swelled up, his face would get puffy when he got up in the morning and he experienced a blurry vision. After conducting blood tests at the Palakkad district hospital, Jayakrishnan was informed that the creatinine (waste produced in the body and eliminated by kidney) was high and has affected his kidney. For the next six months, he would undergo treatment.
As a result of the treatment, Jayakrishnan, who lost his parents at the age of three, had to discontinue his education. His grandmother took care of him and shared the house with his relatives in Pallathuruthy, Palakkad. During the course of the treatment, however, his condition worsened, and even affected his ability to walk. He was immediately put on dialysis and was told that he required a kidney transplant.
This Vishu, his neighbour Byju, who also works with Daya Charitable Trust (an initiative to help the destitute) visited his house and gave him some money for dialysis. When Byju informed the trust about Jayakrishnan’s condition, the team visited his house, convinced his extended family to donate a kidney, and even promised to build a house for them. “Ever since my treatment started, my uncles and aunts have not been talking to me. Even when the Trust put forward the offer to help them with a house and a job, they were not ready to be the donor,” the 19-year-old tells TNM.
One of the members of the Trust then put up a post on Facebook, describing Jayakrishnan’s condition. Finally, Jayakrishnan found hope when Seetha Thampi, an HR professional based in Kottayam and a member of Daya Charitable Trust, volunteered to donate her kidney.
On December 8, 47-year-old Seetha, who was celebrating her 23rd wedding anniversary with her husband Dileep, reached the Medical Trust Hospital in Ernakulam’s Kochi, for the surgery. On December 10, Seetha's kidney was transplanted into Jayakrishanan.
“We went to Amrita hospital and did the crossmatch before the transplant surgery. Since the blood and tissue of the recipient and donor have to be compatible, the tests had to be done multiple times. Besides, we had to collect money for the surgery and other treatment expenses,” he says.
Jayakrishnan says that the Trust helped him raise funds for the surgery. “The Trust spoke to members of each ward, organised a charity campaign and raised money,” he says.
While the surgery cost him Rs 8 lakh, the hospital expenses and medicines came up to Rs 15 lakh, says Jayakrishnan.
‘Didn’t think twice’
When Seetha saw the post on Jayakrishnan, she did not think twice but decided to donate her kidney.
“When I discussed this with my husband, he said that every individual has the right to decide what to do with his/her body and the organs. However, he warned me to not back out after giving the boy hope, as there would be many detractors. Of course, many tried to dissuade me. But I stood stern as many people who donated their kidneys are still leading a healthy life,” she tells TNM.
“However, I found the paperwork prior to the surgery extremely taxing. The procedure started in May and ended in November,” says Seetha.
The process started taking a toll on her professional life and Seetha had to quit her job, so that she could focus on the treatment for Jayakrishnan.
When Jayakrishnan was discharged, on Saturday, Seetha was beside him. “He lost his parents and I wanted to be there for him so that he did not feel lonely,” she says.
Now that he will be in Kochi for the next three months to continue his treatment, Jayakrishnan also hopes to continue his schooling and complete his class 11 and class 12.
Daya Charitable Trust, meanwhile, has promised to build him a house in Palakkad. “Since his existing house in Palakkad will not be hygienic for his condition, we have decided to build another one where he and his grandmother can reside,” says Seetha.