Kidney transplant procedure between two former strangers set to proceed in a month

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Kidney failure patient Curlethia Ghomes (left) with her potential donor Michele Longford
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By Latrishka Thomas

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In approximately a month’s time, the lives of two women who were previously unknown to each other will be changed forever through a medical procedure.

Normally, the chances of finding a match for a kidney transplant are slim, but one woman helped defy those odds when she offered to give one of hers to a woman in need — someone she had never met before.

It was in August 2021, that 42-year-old Michele Longford came across a social media post about 29-year-old Curlethia Ghomes who needed a kidney transplant.

The post urged people who were interested in becoming donors to come forward to be tested.

What happened next will change Ghomes’ life forever.

The two got in contact and formed a connection so easily that it seemed to be fate that Longford found out that she was a match months later.

Ghomes, who has been on dialysis for 10 years, needed a transplant after her kidney became infected about two years ago.

Since offering to give up an organ, Longford has undergone a series of tests that led them to this point. Ghomes is set to receive a kidney in a month once enough funds – around EC$60,000 – are raised.

Longford shared that the poking and probing did not end after finding out that her kidney was a match, but she “would not change a thing”.

“I have just kept up with the tests as they are given by the doctors. I continue to keep a clean diet and drink plenty of water to ensure my kidneys are healthy,” she said.

Assuming the final test results are favourable, the transplant will move ahead right here in Antigua with doctors coming from Ohio and supervised by a local nephrologist.

According to Longford, she and her new bosom buddy are “super excited to finally get this done”.

Despite previously having issues with her dialysis line, Ghomes is said to be doing well.

“Most people ask if we are nervous and we really aren’t. You couldn’t find a happier and more excited pair of women to do major surgery,” Longford added.

She went on to appeal for public education on kidney donations.

“My biggest takeaway is that there is a hesitancy by persons here to either donate or help persons who are in need. I assume this is because of the lack of education.

“There is a great need for discussions regarding the donation process. I believe educating the public about the benefits of donating will help to get more persons to come forward and donate,” she added.

Individuals can assist with getting Ghomes to the finish line by calling 775-4615, 780-4303 or 785-1506.

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