March 12 of every year, is marked as a global campaign that aims to raise awareness about the importance of kidneys to health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney diseases.
However, John Bass, former Scorpion’s defender, after languishing on the kidney transplant waiting list for six months, was offered a living kidney donation from a cousin, Vincent Paul Mendy.
“I was seeing some symptoms on my body that I couldn’t understand. Swollen feet, dry spit, weakness, less urine and I easily got tired and my body was always warm, John Bass explains to The Chronicle.
Vincent said he noticed that John looked weak and exhausted anytime they’re together. “He reluctantly told me about his kidney issues,” Vincent said. “That’s exactly when I questioned him about the transplant list.”
Meanwhile, it was during one of John’s sleepless nights that John went to his native Lamin Health Center where he was advised to go for further checkup and scanning to either MRC or the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul. Worried and scared, he hurried to Banjul immediately.
“When I reached at the EFSTH in Banjul, the doctor took one look at me and said ‘It’s your kidneys.’ When the doctor was talking to me, I felt like I had been covered in a shell. It was like if I was removed from the situation and the world was going up-side down.’’
“I had an infection in one kidney. I went through a lot of tests and saw different doctors. They all recommended oversea medical treatment. My mother was with me through the entire process.”
Now, here is a guy helping out a cousin brother, Vincent Paul Mendy. He decided to offer one of his own kidneys. John is a very good guy,” Vincent said. “And I have two kidneys. I only need one. My biggest thing was dialysis. It’s not like living. It’s keeping you alive.”
Vincent, underwent testing to be sure he was healthy enough to donate, and to find out if he was a match. Tests included blood typing, tissue typing and cross-matching.
Remarkably, Vincent was qualified in all areas. John said it was “overwhelming” and that he was so grateful to his ‘savior’. No one in my life has ever given me a gift like this.”
Vincent said he hopes others learn more about kidney donation so that one day there will be no one waiting on the transplant list. “He thanks me all the time, Vincent said. “I tell him this is half for you and half for me. He gave me the chance to make a difference in someone’s life.”
Now that he’s completely recuperated, John Bass is doing his part to raise awareness of kidney disease through the John Bass Kidney Foundation.
The Foundation helps dialysis patients manage the complex emotional trauma of their illness by providing a forum where they can share their stories and hear the voices of others.