Twin Cities siblings share lifetime bond after kidney donation
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If you happened to learn that a close family member needed a kidney, would you be willing to become a donor? March is National Kidney Month, and KSTP is introducing readers and viewers to Twin Cities siblings that share a very special bond.
About two years ago, Hannan Wazwaz began researching living kidney donations. Her brother, Malik, was admitted to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. That’s when things took a sharp turn.
"So with images they realized that his kidneys were just way too small for his age. He was 12 when he was diagnosed, but then it turns out he had kidneys the size of a two-year-old’s still in him," Hannan said.
Malik was diagnosed with acute kidney failure and began dialysis immediately.
"I am a high achiever, for sure," Malik joked.
Malik’s a straight-A student, but his grades took a hit after spending 12 hours a week on dialysis. Kidney patients must stick to strict diets too, so Malik says he had to stop eating his favorite food.
"Macaroni and cheese! It was macaroni and cheese… but guess what, I couldn’t eat it! It was too much," Malik said.
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"So Malik is like my baby, I helped raise him," Hannan added.
The wait for a new kidney for Malik could take a few years, so Hannan says she moved ahead with plans to become her little brother’s donor.
"Yes, I’m going to be in a little bit of pain. Yes, I’m going to go through major surgery. The statistics for living donation is very good, especially now with the techniques of how they do the surgeries," says Hannan.
Not everyone was convinced, and Hannan says her mom was having a hard time with the idea of two of her children having surgery.
"You know we fought back and forth and to be honest it was a rough time between us," Hannan said.
Eventually, her mom gave her blessing and on Aug.15, 2018, Malik received a new kidney from his big sister at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.
"I feel like it was in God’s hands throughout every step. His quality of life has drastically improved from where he was. To me that’s worth every pain that you have to go through," Hannan said.