'Donating organ is best gift human being can give another'
Evance Kalula underwent a heart transplant almost five years ago. He has urged South Africans to register as organ and tissue donors.
CAPE TOWN - A 65-year-old heart recipient says donating an organ is the best gift a human being can give another.
Evance Kalula underwent a heart transplant almost five years ago.
The University of Cape Town law professor has urged South Africans to register as organ and tissue donors, following a 40% drop in the number of heart transplants.
The issue has been highlighted on the birthdate of the late Professor Christiaan Barnard who performed the world's first heart transplant on the 3 December 1967.
Kalula says his donated heart has afforded him more time to spend with his wife and four children.
He calls it the greatest gift he's received from a complete stranger.
His heart failed on the 12 December 2012. And because it was an emergency, he received a transplant only a week later once a donor had been found.
“I wouldn’t be alive; it is an incredible gift to give at a very critical time. I have been very lucky and my message would be please consider helping somebody else.”
The identity of Kalula's donor is protected by confidentiality, but he knows he received a woman's heart.
The Organ Donor Foundation says in 2000, 41 heart transplants were conducted.
Last year there were just 25.
There are currently about 4,000 South Africans on waiting lists.