Zehava, Brown, David
Photo: Rabin Medical Center

Canadian donates kidney to Israeli, facilitating additional transplant

Trevor Brown never met Zehava Pelach from Israel, but upon hearing her dire need for kidney transplant, he quickly volunteered; husband passes on good deed, donates kidney to father of seven

A Canadian Christian teaching English to children in Africa hears that someone in Israel is in desperate need of a kidney; he packs his bags, gets on a plane and without thinking twice donates of his own kidney. This is no fairy tale, but the true story of Trevor Brown.


Brown, 24, teaches English to Kenyan children. Two years ago his friend told him he had donated his kidney in Israel. Any other person would have felt a few words of praise were enough, but not Brown, he decided to follow in his friend's footsteps. "I desperately wanted to do something for someone," he said. "A large part of that is connected to my faith."


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Following his request, the friend put him in contact with a volunteer in Israel, and she in turn connected him to Haifa resident Piaz Abu-Samra, 53, a father of seven, in desperate need of a kidney transplant, after being on dialysis for more than a year because of terminal kidney failure.


"I underwent preliminary tests abroad, and it turned out my kidney was a match," Brown said. A month later he arrived in Israel and moved in to Abu-Samra's house.


"He is a splendid man, and he has such great kids. I felt I was doing the right thing," Brown explains. "My family didn't like the idea, but at the end of the day they respected my decision and did not fight the donation."


'A real idealist'

"I met an amazing person who came to save me," Abu-Samra emotionally recants. "At first we wrote each other through the internet. When I saw that he was serious, I sent him a flight ticket, and he came. He is an amazing man, a real idealist."


While Abu-Samra was waiting for his surgery at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Zehava Pelach, 46, a supermarket cashier, was also awaiting for a kidney transplant after suffering renal failure for more than eight years.


Her husband David quickly volunteered to give her one his own kidneys, but sadly he wasn’t a match.


At the beginning of the week, the head of the hospital's Transplant Unit, Prof. Eitan Mor, came up with the idea of orchestrating a cross-transplant – the Canadian will donate his kidney to Zehava, and her husband will donate his kidney to Abu-Samra.


"I didn't hesitate for a second," David, 48, said, "I was up for donating my kidney to Zehava from the get go, but our blood types don't match. We have been married for 25 years, and it was clear to me that I needed to relieve her of the pain of dialysis. I was very concerned, but the moment the idea came up, I agreed."


Wednesday, all three went under the knife and the transplant went ahead successfully.


In the interview, following the operation, the three joined each other in an emotional meeting, and they are currently recuperating in adjacent rooms.


"Trevor is an amazing person, I have no words to describe what he has done for us," Zehava said. "When we get out of here, we will all go out together to celebrate this miracle.


"It is important people know there it is possible to donate a kidney. That is the reason god gave us two," she concludes.


Prof. Mor summarizes: "Undoubtedly, a donation from a live person is preferred to a donation from someone who is deceased. The matching is mostly based on the blood-types of the patient and benefactor, but today we know how to successfully complete transplants even between those that do not share a blood type by inducing an anti-body neutralizer."



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פרסום ראשון: 03.15.13, 15:13
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