‘It made my life’
Recipient reflects on 30 years with sister’s kidney
Recipient reflects on living 30 years with her sister’s kidney.
Yvonne Baglole was just a week into her three-times-aweek trips to Halifax for kidney dialysis when her doctor advised her that dialysis wasn’t going to work.
Her only hope was a kidney transplant.
Her brother and sister had already been tested, just in case, and her sister, Tish Lidstone, had been identified as a perfect match. But Baglole was reluctant. “I didn’t want her to jeopardize her own health for mine,” she reflects.
“You don’t have any more choice. You either die or you get the transplant done,” said her husband, Jimmy, recalling the advice from her kidney specialist.
“I knew I was going to do it for her and I never gave it a second thought,” Tish said of her on-thespot decision to give Yvonne a kidney.
“She’s my sister. She’s my pride and joy. I’m 11 years older than her and I looked after her.”
Tish was 61 and Yvonne was almost 50 when the transplant was performed on July 4, 1985. This past Saturday they marked the 30-year milestone of that lifesaving transplant.
Tish, now 91, said she’s never had any ill health because of her decision.
As for Yvonne, “It’s made my life,” she said.
Doctors could tell the kidney was functioning within five minutes of the transplant.
“That’s 30 years of life,” Tish acknowledges.
When the sisters were asked whether the kidney transplant created a special bond between them over the past 30 years, Tish responds, “Yeah, for the last 79 (years).”
“She’s been my protector for all my years,” Yvonne acknowledges.
Yvonne was born with polycystic kidney disease, but only learned of it following the death of her brother, Orville Betts. An autopsy determined he had PKD. Family members were subsequently tested. The other two members of her Betts family didn’t have the disease. Through time her kidneys wasted away to the point that dialysis and then a transplant became necessary.
The disease is hereditary, Jimmy explains. On average, children of a person with the disease have a 50 per cent chance of getting it. Three of Jimmy and Yvonne’s four children have the disease. Their son, Clark Baglole, received a kidney transplant in 2001. His wife, Paula, was his donor.
“I was kind of like Tish,” Paula said: “I never gave it a second thought.”
Advances in anti-rejection drugs have made it possible for people to donate kidneys as long as they are the same blood type as the recipient, she explained.
Yvonne, who has endured other health problems in recent years, knows she got a good one when she got her sister’s kidney.
“The doctor said my kidney was the best part of me,” she chuckles.
Jimmy said doctors were hoping his wife would get at least five years out of the donor kidney. He recalls taking Yvonne back for a checkup shortly after the transplant and meeting a man who had a donor kidney for 13 years.
“That made me feel good,” he said.
“I took good care of it,” Yvonne said of the life-saving gift from her sister.
“I took care of mine, too,” Tish added.
Sisters, Yvonne Baglole, left, and Tish Lidstone, enjoy a chat. This past Saturday the pair marked a special milestone — Yvonne’s 30 years with the kidney Tish donated.