This week is Donate Life Week, and we would like to share Neesha's story.

Neesha is a young woman from Darwin in her 20s who has been waiting four years for a life-saving kidney donation. 

At the age of 5, Neesha was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and then at 23, she was diagnosed with high blood pressure that had gone undiagnosed for many years, causing her to go into kidney failure and damage her eyesight. 

After spending four years on the transplant list, 60 days ago, Neesha received her gift of life.

Neesha needs a dual kidney transplant, and live donations are not an option, which sadly means she needs the gift of life from a person who has passed away. Over the last two and a half years, Neesha and her family have lost count of doctor appointments, specialist team visits, hospital visits and admissions, testing, procedures, and surgeries. Neesha has been poked, prodded, cut open, medicated, and had some horrendous bruises and now scars. 

Surgery to create a fistula for haemodialysis, multiple surgeries and procedures to correct blockages that jeopardised her health and to try and save the fistula. Surgery to create an insert for a peritoneal Dialysis catheter in her stomach and two more surgeries because it was tangling in her omentum, so they cut that away each time, then finally it failed and caused infection resulting in another surgery to remove the catheter, laser surgery for eye injections, multiple surgeries to use inflated balloons to try and correct the narrowing of her veins, too many biopsies to count and other small, and painful procedures.

To help raise awareness, we share a small part of Neesha and her family's story with permission from Neesha's mother.

As a family and mother, we have watched Neesha in pain, nauseous all day, every day and holding our breath, thinking this could be the day we lose her. I sneak into her room in the morning to check that she is still breathing before I leave for work. Dropping her off at the hospital before I go to work and having to leave her alone because we have to work and because life continues. Watching her, wishing we could take away the pain and make things better for her while watching her trying to put on a brave face. 

We try to keep some normalcy in our lives and try to go about our day when most days we want to hide out at home or rock in the corner. Family and friends withdraw because they don't always know what to say or do. The emotional and mental exhaustion can be overwhelming especially for Neesha and not to mention the physical pain and exhaustion that she deals with every day. To keep her alive, Neesha is hooked up to a dialysis machine every second day for four to five hours to remove the excess fluid and to remove toxins from her blood while we wait for ‘THE phone call’. We are sharing our story to help raise awareness, this is only a small snapshot of our family's life right now. 

How can you help? 

Register to be an organ donor, and please discuss your wishes with your loved ones - www.donatelife.gov.au/

We are pleased to say that Neesha got THE CALL, and at 1:30 am on May 26th, 2023, Neesha received her two new kidneys via a six-hour long surgery. Happy for Neesha's life-saving transplant, Neesha and her family were also met with the realisation that another family was suffering a tremendous loss. By making the decision to donate, that family chose to give the gift of life to another. Neesha is now on the road to recovery, and her family is so grateful for the precious gift of life Neesha has received. 

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