Lifesaving Kidney Transplant 30 years on
Life could have been cut very short for 75-year-old Keith Parkes if it wasn’t for a kidney transplant that saved him over 30 years ago, making him the second longest-living kidney transplant patient in South Australia today.
Fighting fit in his younger years, Keith was a proud soldier in the Australian Army for almost 25 years until he began developing kidney issues during his later years in the military, forcing him to become an instructor of weapons and administration instead.
“I was still in the Army when a Chinese doctor in Canberra diagnosed me with polycystic kidneys in 1975; I had never heard of that in my life. The Army was my heart and soul but after that diagnosis I was discharged, which was really tough for me,” Keith explained.
“I was referred to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and I began dialysis.”
After he was discharged from the Army, Keith secured a job in politics, managing a full-time workload and dialysis three times a week the best way he could.
“My colleagues supported me throughout dialysis which I attended on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I was then asked if I would consider a kidney transplant but I didn’t think too much about it as my mum had been on dialysis for years so I was preparing myself for the same fate,” Keith said.
“I was put on a transplant register with a warning I could be waiting a while.”
Three weeks later Keith woke up to a life-changing phone call at midnight one Friday night, the doctors explaining they had a kidney match for him after a long nine months of being on dialysis.
“I didn’t take it seriously at first and thought it was my brother making a joke, but it was true. I couldn’t believe it. I had only been on the register for three weeks and I was being told the doctors had a kidney match. Before I knew it, I was undergoing the operation,” Keith said.
“Thanks to research in this area, the operation was successful and I have since only had minor issues with the donated kidney. I still have my regular check-ups every three months at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.”
With his donated kidney still going strong, Keith is now retired and living life to the full extent, spending his time with his loving wife Marge and his son, daughter and grandchildren.
“I’ll never know who gave me my kidney but I thank them every day and the medical professionals and researchers who made this possible.”
You can join Keith in supporting lifesaving research into chronic kidney disease and diabetes through KTDRA, follow the link to donate today: https://www.kidneydiabetesresearch.com.au/donate/