Kidney Unicorn
Photo Credit: TELL

Transplant Education for Living Legacies is raising awareness for National Kidney Awareness Week by doing free kidney health screenings this weekend!


South Africa (06 September 2022) – National Kidney Awareness week focuses on making people aware of the importance of kidney health and educating the public on how to look after their kidneys. Kidney health for all is the theme for this year’s focus, and during National Kidney Awareness Week, Transplant Education for Living Legacies (TELL) is having conversations around kidney health.

On Saturday, 10 September 2022, TELL, in collaboration with Hospicare, will be at the Clearwater Shopping Centre in Johannesburg, where the medical personnel of Hospicare will offer free kidney health screening and educate the public on kidney health.

“We invite everyone to join us at this event and get screened for FREE! Zane will also be there and we have some amazing giveaways throughout the day.”

Transplant Education for Living Legacies (TELL) is an NPO and PBO raising awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation.

“We want to encourage the public to have the conversation with their loved ones about their wishes regarding organ and tissue donation.”

As part of the awareness week, TELL also gave some insightful information about Kidney Disease and how people can overcome it.

What is kidney disease:

Our kidneys consist of filters that can filter up to 200 litres of fluid (2.5 bathtubs full) and excrete 1-2 litres of waste in a 24-hour period. When blood enters your kidneys, waste is removed and becomes urine, while clean blood returns to the body. Kidney disease means your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood properly. This leads to waste (toxins) building up in your body and complications such as high blood pressure, anaemia, and heart and blood vessel disease. End Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) is irreversible kidney damage that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant from a deceased or living donor.

Who is at risk:

Get your kidney function checked regularly if you are in the high-risk group.
You are considered to be at a high risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) if you have:

  • diabetes
  • hypertension
  • a family history of kidney disease
  • issues with being overweight

Treatment options:

1. Dialysis:

Treatment for End Stage Renal failure will start when a patient has less than 15% kidney function left, however, most people do get diagnosed at a very late stage. You can lose up to 90% of your kidney function without showing any signs or symptoms. Dialysis is the process where excess fluid and toxins are removed from your blood via a hemodialysis machine. One session takes four hours, and a patient typically needs to have three sessions per week. That’s 624hours of treatment a year! Most children that require dialysis will be put on peritoneal dialysis, where the peritoneum (membrane) is used as a filter to remove excess fluid and toxins. This type of treatment is either done manually five times in a 24-hour period or via a machine for 12 hours per session.

In South Africa, it is estimated between 4000 to 6000 patients are on dialysis in the private and public sectors. This number does not reflect the total number of patients that actually require renal replacement therapy.

Not all patients with End Stage Renal Failure will qualify for a transplant or even be able to receive dialysis. In the state sector, dialysis is rationed, and only patients who are eligible for a transplant can receive dialysis in the state sector. The cost of dialysis is around R280 000 per annum, compared to a transplant which is a more cost-effective treatment option.

2. Kidney Transplant

A kidney transplant is the preferred treatment for eligible patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), although dialysis remains the predominant therapy across the globe. Research has shown that children have the best long-term graft survival of any age group of recipients and a transplant is also a better treatment option for children with impaired renal function as dialysis is not an adequate treatment option and can result in stunted growth. The risk of death is four times greater when on dialysis compared to a transplant.

Patients that qualify for a transplant will have a thorough medical assessment before they are placed on the deceased waiting list for a kidney. The waiting list for a kidney in South Africa for the O blood group is between 12-15 years; worldwide the demand for organs, but especially kidneys far greater than the supply.  If the patient has any relatives or friends that are willing to be tested to see if they are a match, this may lessen the time that the patient has to undergo dialysis treatment. Even strangers are able to donate to someone on the waiting list for a kidney.

A successful kidney transplantation reduces mortality and improves the quality of life. Kidney transplantation is also associated with improved physical functioning, greater engagement in social and recreational activities, higher independence, and enhanced ability to work when compared with patients receiving other forms of renal replacement therapy, such as dialysis.

A kidney transplant is not a cure, and the recipient will have to take immunosuppressants for the rest of their life. Despite all the challenges, kidney transplant remains one of the most frequently performed transplantations worldwide.

Kidney still working after 27 years.

Dev Moodley is showing South Africans that they can live a full life after receiving a transplant. Twenty-seven years ago, Dev’s brother agreed to donate one of his kidneys, and this gift has enabled Dev to participate in four World Transplant Games and continue working full time up to the age of 58. Dev has been enjoying his retirement and spending precious time with his family, and he still leads an active lifestyle and advocates for organ and tissue donation in his community.

Dev Moodley in his South African Transplant Sports Colours

Gifting a Zane to paediatric renal patients

TELL has parted with the Renal Care Society of South Africa and will be visiting paediatric renal patients at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital on Friday, 9 September 2022, to gift 30 Zane soft toys to the kids. These little warriors suffer from kidney disease, and TELL wants to gift them each a mini Zane!

“A Zane soft toy costs R250 and we need enough to gift all 30 kids, so we’re asking everyone in a position to help to please make a contribution. Zane, our life-size mascot, will hand out the toys to the children to bring some joy to their lives and help them understand that being born different is OK.”

Mini Zane, the soft toy

If you wish to share your spare change with them, you can donate via YOKO or via EFT:

Name: Transplant Education for Living Legacies NPO
Bank: First National Bank (FNB)
Account type: Cheque
Account no: 62818725775
Branch code: 250655


For more information about organ and tissue donation, please visit TELL’s social media pages @tellorgza, website at e-mail:

Sources: TELL – Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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