Kidney plea for Ellen DeGeneres to help save SA mom

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US comedian and TV host Ellen DeGeneres has been roped in to help find a kidney for South African mother and artist Di Wilkinson.

Ellen DeGeneres

Canadian Bridget Janet has appealed to DeGeneres to help bring awareness to Wilkinson’s plight.

In a Facebook post to the popular comedian last month‚ Janet wrote that Wilkinson‚ diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure and one of the few people surviving without two kidneys‚ needed “one little bitty kidney that matched her blood and tissue type.”

DeGeneres has not yet responded to Janet’s appeal.

“We need more people like her in the world and I really want her to stay here for a long time! You do not need to live in South Africa to donate a kidney to her‚” she wrote on DeGeneres’s official Facebook page.

Janet told TMG Digital she discovered Wilkinson on social media last Christmas and was blown away by her story — a quest to find a living donor and #ThePlatterProject‚ a non-profit organisation to raise awareness around organ donation and wildlife conservation.

Wilkinson’s quest to find a living donor made headlines last year when a former classmate she hadn’t seen in decades‚ Jill Hamilton‚ offered her kidney. But she was not a match.

Wilkinson’s daughter‚ Legh (correct)‚ said her mother‚ who has been hospital-free for four months‚ was deteriorating in dialysis “exceptionally quickly.”

“This is likely due to the fact that she is one of the few people who has had both her kidneys removed as a result of recurring infections associated with polycystic kidney disease.”

This week the Wilkinson family made the difficult decision for her to undergo a process called desensitisation before she can receive a transplant from a donor — preferably a healthy man aged between 25 and 55 with blood group O — who has yet to be found.

“Whilst this process is conducted fairly frequently in the US and other first world countries‚ only a handful have been done in South Africa. It is daunting and unfamiliar for our family but we’re going to be positive and hopeful that this will improve the quality of our dear mother’s life‚” Legh said.

Meanwhile Wilkinson’s hand-painted platters‚ costing about R10‚000 each‚ have gone far and wide since September‚ with the latest one going to 2016 MasterChef Australia runner-up Harry Foster.

The first platter was given as a gift to former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela‚ who supports the project.

The Wilkinson family covers the manufacturing and shipping costs of the platters and all profits are donated to a list of beneficiaries‚ including LoveLife‚ GiftLife‚ The Open Eye Foundation‚ Nkombe Rhino‚ Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre and the Bush Babies Education Program.

“Ellen DeGeneres is a firm believer in these three pillars — organ donation‚ wildlife and education — and we would love for our project to reach her as we firmly believe our passion and will to make a positive impact in South Africa will resonate with her‚” Legh said. -TMG Digital/Nivashni Nair

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