Transplant lets kidney patient follow his dream of marriage and children

Ray Mui used to have daily 11-hour kidney dialysis sessions just to stay alive. Now he plans to start a family with his new wife

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 January, 2013, 4:59am

It was like getting a "big wedding gift" when engaged transplant patient Ray Mui received a new kidney - and a new lease of life - from a deceased donor.

The 40-year-old teacher's life revolved around daily 11-hour dialysis sessions at home. The thought of a honeymoon or having children were just dreams. Then a matching kidney became available.

"The transplant gave me hope. There were many things which I hadn't thought I could do after getting married, such as having children. Now this is one of the things I plan to do," said Mui who got married and went on a honeymoon after the transplant last year.

Mui was among the 84 people who received a kidney from deceased donors last year, a 42 per cent increase from 2011. Another 15 people had kidney transplants from live donors, usually their family members.

However, as of the end of last year, 1,808 people were still waiting for a kidney transplant, 27 more than at the end of 2011.

Mui believes education is the key. He wants people to lose their fear about signing up for organ donations and understand how it is a chance to help others if the worst should happen.

"If we start with education, we can change the traditional misconceptions by showing how it brings blessings to so many people," he said.

Mui discovered he had end-stage renal failure in 2009 but the cause of his kidney disease remains unknown and the diagnosis came without any warning. He was a teacher and scout leader and had always enjoyed a healthy lifestyle.

He was put on the waiting list for a kidney but knew the chances of getting one were small. He was also against his elderly parents and married brother becoming living donors and sacrificing one of their kidneys for him.

Despite his daily dialysis, Mui continued working but switched to teaching evening classes part-time.

"The idea of doing anything spontaneous was impossible," he said.

Today, he can get up in the middle of the night to bake bread for his wife's breakfast.

"I wouldn't have been able to do that being attached to the dialysis machine," he said with a laugh.

Having experience the joy of "rebirth", Mui hopes to pass this message to his students.

Mui's wife Winnie said: "I would really like to thank the donor. Now we can lead normal lives."

So far, more than 116,000 people have registered at Hong Kong's Centralised Organ Donation Register.