Help Lucas get a kidney transplant

For: Lucas Swart
Cape Town, WC, South Africa
Organizer: Elma Pollard
of $35,000 goal.
Raised by 119 donors
31% Complete

The Story

At the age of  27 my son Lucas was diagnosed with end stage kidney disease (ESKD). This shocking discovery was made in March 2017. Suddenly my boy’s carefree and successful young life changed completely. Without anyone knowing he was most probably suffering from the “silent disease” for many years. It was given this name as there are almost no signs until it’s too late.

How could this be? My warm-hearted and ambitious, intelligent and loving boy in the prime of his life? Lucas was the life and soul of a big circle of friends, a successful project manager and talented musician. He had been nothing but a blessing to his family. The person everyone relied on to listen, understand, care and know what to do.

Too late the extremely high blood pressure raised the alarm and the kidney test was ordered. Lucas had seen two doctors before, but nobody suspected this disease at such an early age. Did he hurt his kidneys during that diving accident? Was this hereditary? Where does it come from? Surely there’s a mistake here.

Lucas was rushed to intensive care, then came the second shock: He had no medical insurance. We had to take him to a state hospital to join a renal programme. With thousands on the waiting list he was lucky to be accepted – his age counting in his favour. He stayed there for a month, settling into a new routine of draining his body fluids via a port in his stomach four times a day.

During shock the truth lands slowly. I fought against it for months, hoping for another way out. What about his future?
Slowly acceptance arrived. This is his new life. Until he gets a new kidney from somewhere. In South Africa, where we are, only a tiny percentage of people on the list for cadaveric kidneys ever get one – there are simply not enough available. Most perish before they are helped. The waiting list is years. As year on year more patients fall ill to this silent killer, less people donate their organs after death. And rejection is a huge risk.

Thank heavens Lucas and I share the same blood group. O+. As he has 50% of my DNA I am the most likely compatible donor of a live kidney. It would be such an honour to help him get his life back.

I had my creatinine levels tested and my kidneys are good. As an environmental and health activist I have every hope that my conscious lifestyle and good health can now help save my son’s life.

Of course I am deeply focused on the causes of such a calamity and the reasons from this escalating disease world-wide. This has been our field of study since he fell ill. Once we have managed to secure a kidney for Lucas our family is determined to bring together and share the latest knowledge via a Kidney Education Campaign so that people can be protected from this terrible fate.

Early detection could make a huge difference and take the load off the state. Most people simply don’t know what to look out for and how to do early testing. Neither did we have any idea.

If you feel moved to help Lucas we will keep you updated on the progress as the funds arrive and we start the testing procedures. Should I not be accepted as live donor, then we will test other family members and some friends who have offered. We can also source and swap a compatible kidney with another family in the same position.
We are determined to turn this challenge into a gift for Lucas and the world. Please join us in our campaign to save Lucas.

We need to raise 35,000 Dollars (R500,000) for a live kidney transplant for Lucas. This is his only chance at survival.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on December 5, 2017


Posted on December 5, 2017

Last week was a blend of blessings and challenges. Lucas was adapting to very high phosphorus levels in his blood. Hence he had removed diary and eggs from his diet. Not so cool, though he’s loving cream and coconut milk on his granola. Turns out the phosphorus is not in the cream, but in the rest of the milk.

Now they allow him a bit more potassium containing foods. That means after 8 months he can have a little bit of avo and a slice of tomato now and then, which he’s so happy about. It’s easier for him to eat balanced meals with a bigger variety of veggies.  Did you know that almost all of the healthiest foods – veggies and fruit - are high in potassium? Cutting those is also a paradox in terms of overall health, as they contain the best anti-oxidants, which one needs to heal. 

Healthy kidneys filter out excess potassium, salt and phosphorus and if concentrations of these minerals increase in your blood you have serious trouble. So he has to be very careful. This leads to high urea levels and itchy skin, which is difficult.  

He also had painful joints, which was sorted out by cortisone. 

On Friday we had good news that his phosphorus levels had come down, so that was really cool. Urea levels remains very high though. 

He’s determined to hold down his job in IT and making music, his passion. On Friday evening he played, as usual, with his best friends in Lucy and the Lost Boys in Cape Town. It was awesome. Such a brave person. He will not allow the illness to defeat him. 

I am chronically in awe of the support we are receiving from all over. I cannot single out specific people, for every single donation makes it easier for us to get the best possible care on the path towards the kidney transplant. But what moves me more than anything is to see his friends and other young folk, who are not earning much yet, dig deep into their pockets to help. Thank you angels – every donation is received with utmost gratitude. I know what it takes to reach out when things are perhaps not easy for you either. 

Then there’s my friend Thomas and his family from Germany – thank you so much for helping a complete stranger. Dankeschön. 

We are doing our best to thank everyone individually. We are unable to thank those who have made deposits into the SA savings account, as we don’t have those contact details. One precious angel from Stellenbosch has completely bowled me out with her kindness. Thank you Cindi.

We have received encouraging notes with beautiful messages. It means so much to us. Fans of Dangerfields have helped. An organic farmer has now offered the healthiest produce. Friends are reaching out. We’ve had offers of fundraisers from a few people. 

What solid kindness there is in the world. How the world needs this now. There is always grace with the grit and you have proven what I have always believed - that humans are essentially good. Thank you!  

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