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“Six kidney donations have made us a very close family”

The situation of Ludie Rajakovic (61) goes to show just how a hereditary kidney defect can affect a family. Her husband was born with polycystic kidney disease and gave this genetic defect to both of their sons. A result of which is that in their family they now have had six transplants.

For any other onlooker, such a story is not to be believable. The kidneys that have saved the lives of Ludies husband and children have all been donated by family members (both with and without blood relations). Time after time they have had to look for a suitable donor and watch how things panned out. But anyone who thinks that they have found a broken family has it completely wrong.


This is evident when speaking to  Ludie and her sister Sylvia. At least twice a week these sisters see each other. Even though renal diseases have had a huge impact on both of their families, they still manage to laugh. This is possible again, as at this moment everything is alright with the kidneys of the father and sons. The youngest son is recovering from his first and hopefully last kidney transplant. He received a kidney from his uncle, the brother of Ludie and Sylvia. When asked if it was easy to ask your family members to donate a kidney, Ludie adamantly says “No, something like this you cannot just ask. All you can do is say that there is the possibility of a living donation and wait for the person to offer to do so by themselves.” Ludie herself has already given one of her kidneys to her oldest son. Is it a major operation? “On the contrary, what a transplant for a kidney patient can do is a wonder to behold. Dialysis keeps you alive but a kidney transplant gives you a life. Actually you should take a “before” and “after” picture, to be able to see and experience the differences. When our brother saw the healthy face of my son, for a moment there was nothing else in the world.”


The transplant of Ludies kidney to her eldest son was not so successful. Therefore, Sylvia’s husband has now also donated one of his kidneys to him, even though he is of a different blood group. Subsequently, you see, even in that family kidney donations are a known terrain. That this impacts the lives of your children is also evident. Sylvia has a 12 year old son. “When he grows up he also wants to donate his kidneys as his father, uncle and aunts have already done so. He has been raised in such a giving environment. On top of that the caring atmosphere of the family also plays a part. Hopefully this will not be needed anymore.”

For further reading please read the experiences of kidney donors.

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