Alia and Butti
Siblings Butti and Alia. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: On her 20th birthday, Alia found out that she would need dialysis to survive.

The Emirati was obviously saddened by the news. Even when her elder brother Butti offered to donate his kidney to her, Alia initially refused the offer.

Now, the 29-year-old is living a healthy life, following a transplant with a kidney donated by Butti, aged 40 years.

The siblings spoke of their journey, which was documented on a social media post by Ma-an — the Authority of Social Contribution, the arm of the Department of Community Development that brings together the government, the private sector and civil society to encourage social participation and contribution.

“My life was ordinary and problem-free. I had just turned 20 at the time. On my birthday, I found out that I needed kidney dialysis. I couldn’t accept [the fact]. No one could accept the idea of losing their life at such a young age,” Alia said.

Kidney donation

Butti added that his father had asked him to find a solution for Alia’s dialysis. “I immediately said that I would donate my kidney for Alia. I was the first one to suggest it [because] I wanted to change her life,” he recollects.

But Alia was reluctant to accept the organ donation. “When I found out that my brother would be donor, I felt sad because it didn’t seem fair to rob him of the chance to live a healthy life so I can life. So I put a stop to the idea, because I didn’t want the donor to be one of my family members. After about a year, my mental state [had worsened so much], so I asked my brother to restart the organ donation process,” she said.

Alia eventually went on to receive the kidney, with Butti urging her to take care of the organ as if she were taking care of him. “Thank God for this blessing,” she said, speaking of the transplant.

“I think Ma’an made a wonderful choice when they decided to go with this initiative because there are many people who need this kind of help,” she added.

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Dh5 million campaign

Ma’an shed light on the siblings’ journey to highlight their Organs Transplant Support campaign, undertaken in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), the emirate’s public health provider. The Dh5 million fundraising initiative aims to cover organ transplantation costs and encourage a culture of organ donation in support of the National Programme for Organ and Tissue Donation.

Ma’an said the initiative will provide hope and help save the lives of many patients by facilitating organ donation.