‘It made my life’

Re­cip­i­ent re­flects on 30 years with sis­ter’s kid­ney

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ERIC MCCARTHY

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.

ERIC MCCARTHY/TC MEDIA

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.

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