Giving back to Australian medical research – Mung’s Story

July 17, 2015 0 comments
1985 was a year of change for kind-hearted Mung Pham. With her husband she left Vietnam as a refugee and moved to Adelaide, South Australia, welcomed her first and only daughter into the world and shortly after this, began to experience problems with one of her kidneys.

Mung, who donates regularly to progressing Australian medical research, believes that community support is vital to not only find cures for diseases but to help improve treatments and patient care.

The beginning

In 1990, Mung had complete kidney failure and had to commence dialysis treatment for three years before her first transplant in 1993.

“I was very fortunate that the transplant was successful as I was very tired of being on dialysis for three years,” Mung said.

“My first successful kidney transplant lasted for 14 years and it was great. It’s liked a second chance of life, I was able to live a normal life, travel, work and study.”

Unfortunately for Mung, in 2007, she started to experience high blood pressure and various other symptoms indications the kidney did not want to work anymore.

“I went back on dialysis in 2008 and over the next few years experienced a few complications including a fungal infection that put in hospital for five months,” she said.

“It was horrible – I didn’t think I would ever get out of there but luckily I had a few operations that were able to remove the infection.”

A second transplant

Mung decided to become a patient of Professor Toby Coates to see if there was any chance of her being a candidate for a second transplant.

“I thought it might be a bit risky as I had so many complications, but when I found out it was a possibility, it was very exciting – I was so sick of being on dialysis again,” said Mung.

“Dialysis is time consuming and very tiring afterwards. You can’t really go anywhere and it feels like you lose your freedom. I would have dialysis on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays.

“I still made sure I worked through all of this, but it made it hard to spend quality time with my family.”

In January 2015 Mung had another successful kidney transplant at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and is now back at work three days a week.

An approach to help others

“Today, I feel great – my life has really changed. I’m still tired from some of the medication I’m on but the best thing is that I don’t have to be on dialysis anymore,” Mung said.

“With the memory of dialysis and two transplants, I donate from my heart to make sure they can continue to improve treatments for other people.

“I would have never received the type of medical care I’ve had here if I had stayed in Vietnam – I’m so grateful to the Australian healthcare system and supporting this is very important to me.

“Even though I don’t earn a very high salary, I’m always thinking about helping whenever I can, and I hope other people can think like this too.”

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