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Jaiye and Ka Yee call themselves “kidney sisters” as they are bonded by the same organ donor

Five years ago, on a miraculous day in 2017 for Jaiye and Ka Yee, the two met at Vancouver General Hospital and found out they each received a transplanted kidney from the same organ donor.
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                                               (Ka Yee and Jaiye)​

Since then, they have made a point to connect and meet up every year to celebrate how special their bond is as "kidney sisters" and to honour their donor.

"Ka Yee and I share a bond like nobody else - we share the same set of kidneys." 

"I hope Ka Yee knows how awesome she is and that whenever I'm with her, she puts a huge smile on my face. I am so proud of all of her adventures and accomplishments and am happy to call her my kidney sister," shares Jaiye.

Throughout their many conversations over the years, they discovered more similarities on top of both being positive and smiley human beings. They each were on hemodialysis prior to their kidney transplants, are roughly around the same age and surprisingly learned that they both received their first transplants at BC Children's Hospital in 1999 (Jaiye, liver transplant) and 2000 (Ka Yee, first kidney transplant).

"Jaiye, I never thought I would meet the other kidney recipient and that I would even become friends with him or her. I am very thankful to have met you. I always think of the days when we were waiting together at the transplant clinic. The wait was long but time flew by quickly when you were there to chat with me. Stay healthy and happy," shares Ka Yee.

               Jaiye and Ka Yee 2_Kidney.jpg

                                              (Jaiye and Ka Yee)

An interview with Ka Yee, 2x kidney recipient (1999 & 2017)

Tell us more about your two transplants.

I was born with a congenital disorder and a single malformed kidney. I received my first kidney transplant in 1999 after four years of being on hemodialysis. The transplant lasted for almost 16 years. After it failed, I went back on dialysis in 2015 and got my second transplant in 2017.

What are some important milestones you have been able to accomplish post-transplant?

After my first transplant, I got a dog which I had always wanted since I was little. I went to university, got my driver's license and was also able to travel again. I used to be very shy, but after my first transplant, I got out of my shell and started volunteering. Now, I'm grateful to have energy to do more outdoor activities such as hiking. Without my two kidney transplants, I wouldn't be able to enjoy moments hiking Golden Ears with my friends. After my second transplant, I became a renal technician.

                Ka Yee Walking Poles_Kidney.jpg

Tell us about your career choice and why it means so much to you.

I work as a renal dialysis technician in the hospital hemodialysis unit. I prepare the dialysis machines for patient treatment according to the doctor's prescriptions. I also set up the dialysis machines and the portable water treatment systems in other hospital units including the emergency department. My other job duties include troubleshooting the machine alarms and performing regular maintenance of the machines.

I never thought about becoming a renal tech until I started home hemodialysis in 2015. When I was on home hemo, I met another patient and he told me about the renal dialysis technician program. I thought it would be great if I could set up the machines for other patients in the hospital setting. Since it was my childhood dream to become a healthcare worker and dialysis was something that I could relate to, I decided to become a renal tech.

This job is very rewarding as I used to be a dialysis patient, but now I am able to help other patients. 

I remember a few times when I was setting up the machines and patients told me they felt nervous because it was their first time having dialysis, or it was their last run before their transplant. I always share my story with them and am happy to hear that they felt better after talking to me.

Do you have a message to share with your donor/donor family?

There are no words to express my gratitude for the gift of life. You have saved my life and the lives of other recipients, giving us hope and a second chance to live. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will always remember you and your loved one.

On a lighter note, I've heard of stories where transplant recipients take on traits of their donors. I want to share that after my second transplant, I started to crave eating chicken a lot and have become more emotional when watching the news or movies. I didn't have these traits before and I'm embracing them… perhaps I can chalk it up to cellular memory?

An interview with Jaiye, liver (2000) and kidney recipient (2017)

What are some important milestones you have been able to accomplish post-transplant?

After my first transplant, I was able to overcome a lot of my fears I had because I was so sick. It gave me my life back and I was able to enjoy school and my childhood with my friends. Now, I look forward to going on adventures and pursuing my personal hobbies such as camping, soccer, going to the gym and photography. I'm also grateful to be back at school studying to become a youth and adult social worker.

Tell us more about your love for photography.

One of my favorite memories is photographing a camping trip with my boyfriend. We arrived just in time to get the perfect spot to ourselves and it was a wonderful experience catching my first shots of the mountains and sunsets. It really made me fall in love with nature all over again and I owe it to my donors for giving me a second chance at life.

              Jaiye Camera_Kidney_Liver.jpg

Do you have a message to share with your donor/donor family?

From the bottom of my heart, I will be forever thankful for my second chances. I will live not just for me but for them as well and will hold them close to my heart forever.

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