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A Gift of Love and Life

Isaac Lipschitz and sister Adele today
My husband Henry and I were recently present at a gathering of family and friends at the home of Isaac and Maureen Lipschitz, to celebrate 20 years since Isaac received a kidney, donated by his younger sister Adele. She was resident at the time, and still is resident, in Richard's Bay, South Africa. 
Adele and her daughter Evelyne traveled to Israel to participate in the celebration, and were warmly welcomed by Isaac in his 20 th Anniversary speech. In a warm tribute he described her as an "Eshet Chayil" – a woman of valor whose actions are defined by the deeds of her heart – a woman of utmost strength and unbounding affection.
Isaac recalled how 50 years ago, his father had passed away from polycystic kidney disease at the age of 56. Soon after his father's death, it was recommended that Isaac and his two sisters, Vera and Adele, should undergo ultrasound examinations. The tests established that he and Vera had similarly inherited the disease. By a quirk of fate, Adele fortunately had been spared. Sadly, Vera passed away three years ago.
In 1990, Maureen, Isaac and their family made aliyah from Cape Town, where Isaac's kidney function had been regularly monitored by a nephrologist. In Israel, regular monitoring was continued by a nephrologist in Tel Aviv. Until early 1999 his kidney function remained stable.
Later that year Isaac's condition began to deteriorate, requiring him to start dialysis treatment and to explore the possibility of a kidney transplant. When Isaac conveyed this to his mother, who was visiting Adele in Richard's Bay at the time, she burst into tears, which brought Adele to the telephone. And when she was similarly informed of Isaac's situation, she unhesitatingly offered one of her kidneys to Isaac. He was momentarily stunned by her gesture. The decision was made!
In order to ensure compatibility and Adele's good health, Isaac and Adele were subjected to a barrage of medical tests, for  which they met in Durban. Adele, accompanied by her husband Louis, arrived in Israel in early November 1999. Adele had
to undergo further medical and psychological tests. The doctors, satisfied that she had not been offered financial or other reward for the donation of her kidney, questioned her as to why she was offering one of her precious kidneys to her brother. She replied: "Doctor, you tell me – if a brother or sister of yours required a kidney would you not be prepared to be a donor?" This
reply put an end to any further questions. Finally, it was fortunately determined that Adele would make a suitable donor.
Taking us back 20 years to 19 th November 1999, Isaac described the scene of his lying on the hospital gurney outside the entrance to the operating theater in Assuta Hospital, Tel Aviv, feeling very anxious. When the surgeon exited the theater, he enquired how Isaac felt and advised that Adele's right kidney had been removed and that her operation had gone well.
"You will be taken into theater shortly. Good luck!" were his words to Isaac. And here, twenty years later, we were all celebrating the success of the surgery.
Isaac returned to work after four weeks and has ever since been living a full and rewarding life with Maureen and his family.
Isaac continues to be under the regular care of a nephrologist who monitors his kidney function, and which requires him to take three immunosuppressive (anti-rejection) tablets a day.


Isaac and sister Adele before the transplant in 1999

Bearing in mind Isaac's accountancy training and specialty in numbers, it is not surprising that he had calculated the number of days since the transplant to be 7,605 and on the basis of 3 tablets a day, he had taken to date 22,000 tablets! He is planning to take a further 22,000, when he and Maureen would like to hold another party to celebrate an anniversary of 40 years.
Adele returned to South Africa a month after the operation. She has been and  continues to live a normal and full life without any side effects.
In a short, touching speech, Maureen embraced and thanked her sister-in-law for giving Isaac 20 good years of life with her and their family. A toast to Isaac and Adele was proposed by an old family friend who had spent much of his early life in their parents' home. He came especially from the United States to celebrate the happy occasion. He ended his lengthy, warm, informative and inspiring toast, wishing Isaac the opportunity to take a further 22,000 tablets and hence was looking forward to the 40th Anniversary Party.
For us, it was a pleasure and a privilege to be present at this unique occasion, celebrating the 20 years of prolonged living thanks to the kidney transplant.

Most certainly a GIFT OF LOVE AND LIFE. 

 

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Thursday, 09 December 2021

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