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PATIENT STORIES

Meet Dean

A flight that literally changed a life

It’s been a very long journey for Dean Arnolds and his parents – one that started 7 years ago when he was just 11 years old. Dean is from Port Elizabeth, 760km from Cape Town, and was first admitted to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital for an MRI scan in 2008. Doctors discovered that one of Dean’s kidneys was no longer functioning and had to be removed.

At the end of 2008 he underwent surgery for the first time to remove his kidney and was then placed on the donor waiting list.  Dean recovered well and was able to go back to Port Elizabeth after spending 2 months in the Hospital’s Renal ward. For the next 6 years Dean and his parents travelled from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town at their own expense, so that he could come for his regular check-ups every three months. This became a necessity as his remaining kidney was only functioning on 25%.

To assist with the escalating travel costs, his mom approached the Intercape bus services, who agreed to help by sponsoring some of his bus tickets to and from the Hospital for a period of time.

In August 2014, Dean received the best news of his life at the age of 17.  They had found a suitable donor and Dean was going to have his long-awaited kidney transplant after 7 years of waiting.  The Children’s Hospital Trust and kulula have partnered to offer families like Dean’s sponsored air travel.  The Trust contacted Dean’s parents and offered them a flight to and from the Hospital for Dean’s life-changing surgery to take place.

On 29 September 2014 Dean underwent surgery for his kidney transplant and spent the next few days in the Hospital’s ICU. He is currently recovering from surgery. His family is so very thankful to kulula for making their travel possible.

This is the flight that literally changed Dean’s life as it had become unsafe to take these 12 hour long bus trips with Dean’s health being too vulnerable and unstable.

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