Josephine, who has been married to Albert Ofoe Ofori for 11 years, took the life-saving decision after two relatives of Ofori who had promised to give him their kidneys failed to do so.
Mr Ofori, a masonry instructor, was diagnosed of End Stage Renal Disease (ENRS), a chronic kidney disease, which meant his kidneys could no longer support his body.
According to Josephine, saying ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part’ several years back at the altar was not a mere recital but a covenant she made before God and men.
Prior to the diagnosis, Ofori had breathing problems and was rushed to the hospital for treatment only for his condition to worsen by the day.
His wife and family members hoped his condition would improve with time but were hit hard by a medical test result which indicated that he would either have to be on dialysis for the rest of his life or get a kidney transplant in order to survive.
“I was shocked and heart -broken when I saw the report because I did not have any history of kidney malfunction until I felt ill. My condition deteriorated by the day and had to be supported by my wife to do everything,” Mr Ofori told The Mirror last Monday.
He said he had to be admitted to the Police Hospital as doctors at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital were on strike when the results of the tests were ready. With financial support from his family and employers, Opportunities Industrialisation Centre (OIC), he was on dialysis for six weeks till his wife told him she would give him one of her kidneys.
“I was completely shocked and short of words when she told me she would give me her kidney.
“This is a woman who has been through a lot since we got married; we lost our two-week-old son very early in our marriage and she has also suffered a miscarriage because of the stress she has to go through during my sickness.
“I am not a rich man for her to say she will stand by me and inherit my riches neither do we have a child. Her gesture is that of a true and rare love and commitment to our marriage,” Mr Ofori stated.
Fortunately, the assessment tests ran on Josephine proved that her blood type was compatible with her husband’s; her tissues antigens matched that of her husband’s and she was healthy enough to withstand major surgery and recover completely.
Surgery in India
On October 20, 2014 the couple left Ghana to Indraprastha Appollo Hospital in India for further tests and finally, the transplant was done successfully by a team of doctors led by Dr Sandeep Guleria, a Senior Consultant Surgeon in general surgery and transplantation.
An attendant they had arranged with in Ghana to come along and assist them after the surgery could not make it due to flight issues. On the day of our departure, she couldn’t make it because of some duties at her workplace.
“We agreed that she joined us the following week but when we arrived, she called us to say her re-scheduled flight had been cancelled.
“So my wife who had just been operated on had to cater for the two of us and even cook for me as I had to be on special diet after the surgery,” Mr Ofori said.
Josephine, in an interview with The Mirror last Tuesday, said the decision to give her kidney to her husband was a difficult one as she had to convince her father that she could give her husband a kidney and recover fully.
“I had lost a cousin through kidney failure sometime back and so I knew what could happen if my husband didn’t get a donor. I didn’t tell most of my family members because I knew they could discourage me.
“I had to take my father to see a doctor at the Police Hospital for him to explain to him that I could recover and even have children after the transplant,” she explained.
She said seeing her husband suffer everyday was heart-breaking, adding that anytime she saw her husband on his hospital bed, all that she remembered was the oath she took to stand by him till death.
Contribution by Labone SDA church
The couple said they were forever grateful to the leadership and members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Labone, Accra, for single handedly financing their trip to India and back as well as catering for the entire cost of the surgeries.
In total, the church spent over $20,000 to cover the operation and still provides funds for Mr Ofori’s medication.
“Without their support, I wonder how we could have been able to raise this amount,” Mr Ofori, who is a member of the church, said.
Mr E.O. Hanson, an elder of the church, explained that they were touched by Mr Ofori’s plight and so decided to support the operation to save his life.
‘Part of the duties of the church is to support the society and though we didn’t have that kind of money in our account, we borrowed from our school. We have sent letters to all our churches nationwide and we are hoping to refund the money to the school through donations from our churches,” he explained.
Mr Hanson said the church was setting up a fund to be able to help other people who may get into similar situations.