Kidney patients need support

Grassy Park resident and kidney patient Roshaan Gilbert with her supportive husband, Salvador.

The Cape Kidney Association in Wynberg is one of many organisations adversely affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The 42-year-old association’s main focus is to provide indigent patients suffering from chronic kidney disease with food parcels.

However, the national lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 has stopped them from hosting fund-raisers.

Molly Fabe, Cape Kidney Association executive director, said they mainly serve Groote Schuur and Tygerberg hospitals. 

“Patients are from across the peninsula, but mostly from the rural areas.”

Ms Fabe said they assist 160 patients with food hampers worth R275 at a cost of R44 000 a month.

“Our focus is on assisting indigent kidney patients suffering from chronic kidney disease, and having to attend hospitals three times per week for four hours. Most of the families are unemployed due to their illness, and many have to travel far to reach the hospitals, sometimes having to leave their homes in the early hours of the morning.”

Roshaan Gilbert, 45, from Grassy Park, receives dialysis treatment three times a week at the Fresenius Medical Care in Athlone.

She had previously been a patient at Groote Schuur after her son was born 13 years ago.

She suffered from pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy disorder characterised by the onset of high blood pressure and often a significant amount of protein in the urine and this caused her kidneys to fail.

Ms Gilbert said being a kidney patient puts a lot of pressure on her family, especially her husband Salvador who works full time and takes care of her.

Ms Gilbert said due to the lockdown her husband’s company are in talks about retrenchment.

“Life’s very hard at the moment as he hasn’t received a full salary for months.”

However, Ms Gilbert said her husband and daughter Sideeqa as well as her son Mika-eel, her mother and father in-law Melissa and Roderick had been her saving grace.

“My in-laws would come any time to my house to bring me a pot of food and my son has been helping me since he grew up with a sick mom.”

She said her daughter jumps in any time to help and her husband is always at her side.

“Kidney patients should reach out and not be alone. I was an events manager but my company hired me again after I was diagnosed with kidney failure. I only stopped working two years ago when two of my toes were amputated and I am currently wheelchair bound.”

Despite the challenges, Ms Gilbert has a positive outlook on life.

She said she is grateful for the support of the Cape Kidney Association, which not only helped in financial ways.

She said the fund-raising events they hosted in the past gave patients the opportunity to speak to other people who know what they are going through.

“To me that means a lot. It’s difficult to understand when you first get diagnosed. It’s quite a lot to digest.”

She said while she has the support of her family, “only when speaking to other dialysis patients does it help. A support structure and group is key and this is what Cape Kidney Association provides us. People need all the help and support they can get.”

Ms Gilbert said although she is not mobile, she is proactive in helping other kidney patients through networking not only
with patients but she encourages businesses and organisations to support the Cape Kidney Association.

Ms Fabe said they had maintained a steady income through fund-raising events for years and while they are in the process of applying for assistance from the Department of Social Development, they have registered with BackaBuddy and are appealing for help.

For more information contact Ms Fabe on 083 265 7490 or
email or contact Vanessa Hallett on 021 761 1326/082 517 3460 or email reception.cape

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