Fitness

Care home worker saves fiancee’s life by giving her one of his kidneys

Geraldine Chingosho, 22 with her fiance and kidney donor, Aldo Cataldi, 27, after the transplant
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A care home worker has saved his fiancee’s life by giving her one of his kidneys.

Geraldine Chingosho, 22, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease soon after meeting Aldo Cataldi in 2017.  

The trainee nurse told him they shouldn’t pursue a relationship because she’d be in and out of hospital and ‘didn’t think it was fair to lumber him with a sick person’.

But Mr Cataldi stuck by her – and when relatives turned out to be incompatible donors, he came up as a perfect match. 

Geraldine Chingosho, 22 with her fiance and kidney donor, Aldo Cataldi, 27, after the transplant

Ms Chingosho was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in May 2017, just as she started dating Mr Cataldi

Ms Chingosho was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in May 2017, just as she started dating Mr Cataldi

Ms Chingosho, from Leicester, said: ‘I never would have ever asked or expected my fiance to give me his kidney. 

‘I was completely stunned to find that we were even a match. Aldo has saved my life and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him.’

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. 

Kidneys filter out waste products and excess fluids from the blood before they are excreted through urine. They also help maintain blood pressure.

The couple moments before their kidney transplant at Leicester General Hospital in February

The couple moments before their kidney transplant at Leicester General Hospital in February

Mr Cataldi wakes up in the hospital after having his kidney removed. The care home worker demanded to be tested and said it was a 'no-brainer' to go through with the operation

Mr Cataldi wakes up in the hospital after having his kidney removed. The care home worker demanded to be tested and said it was a ‘no-brainer’ to go through with the operation

Ms Chingosho's scars following the surgery that saw doctors cut her open and connect the organ to her blood vessels and bladder

Ms Chingosho’s scars following the surgery that saw doctors cut her open and connect the organ to her blood vessels and bladder

As CKD advances, the kidneys do not function properly and dangerous levels of waste build up in the body. 

CKD does not usually cause any symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage. It can be detected early on via blood and urine tests. 

WHAT IS CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE AND HOW CAN YOU SPOT IT? 

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. 

Our kidneys filter out waste products and excess fluids from the blood before they are excreted through urine. They also help maintain blood pressure.

As CKD advances, the kidneys do not function properly and dangerous levels of waste build up in your body.

The risk of CKD increases as you age.

CKD does not usually cause any symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage. It can be detected early on via blood and urine tests.

Symptoms include: 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Sleep problems
  • Changes in how much you urinate
  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Persistent itching
  • Chest pain, if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart
  • Shortness of breath, if fluid builds up in the lungs
  • High blood pressure that is difficult to control

Those with the condition have a greater risk of having a stroke or heart attack. It can also cause kidney failure, when sufferers will need to have dialysis or a possible transplant.

However, lifestyle changes and medication can stop the disease from getting worse if it is diagnosed at an early stage.

To reduce your risk:  

  • Follow instructions for over-the-counter medications. Taking too many pain relievers can lead to kidney damage
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking cigarettes can cause kidney damage 

Source: Mayo Clinic

Mr Cataldi, also a nurse, added: ‘Donating my kidney to my fiance was such a normal thing for me to do – I didn’t really think about it.

‘The most important thing is she’ll feel better and have a better quality of life. I didn’t do it for the spotlight or anything – but because it was the right thing to do.’

The pair met in January 2017 while both working at a care home.

Their first date came just days after she was diagnosed with the disease in May 2017.

Ms Chingosho said: ‘I told Aldo that he should leave me and that we shouldn’t pursue a relationship because I’d be in and out of hospital.

‘I didn’t think it would be fair on him to be lumbered with a sick person. 

‘But he told me it didn’t matter that I was ill and that he would be there for me no matter what.

‘It was really early days and we weren’t even boyfriend and girlfriend at the time.’

Ms Chingosho was told her kidney function had plummeted to just 20 per cent.

She needed daily dialysis, meaning she was in and out of hospital.

She said: ‘He would come from work after a 12 and a half hour shift in the hospital and bring me food.

‘He’d help me get dressed and would speak to the doctors to find out exactly what was going on.

‘He was superman – my own superhero – while I was poorly. 

‘He took care of me and my whole dialysis regime. He basically became my carer.’

Doctors later told the trainee nurse she would need a kidney transplant as her organ was on the verge of failing.

Ms Chingosho’s family members were tested to see if they were a match in early 2018 – but they were all incompatible. 

She said: ‘I was really panicking. I felt suicidal and was suffering from depression. It was a lot to deal with. Aldo said he wanted to get tested.

‘I told him, “But you’re a white Italian. You’re not going to be a match. We’re different ethnicities”.

‘But he wouldn’t give in. He kept saying, “Just let me get tested”.’ 

While waiting for the results, the couple went to Portugal on holiday to celebrate her birthday.

He proposed on an empty beach while on a private boat trip on July 31, 2018. 

Later that day they found out he was a match and was given the go ahead to donate his kidney.

Chingosho (after the surgery) told her fiance they shouldn't pursue a relationship because she'd be in and out of hospital and 'didn't think it was fair to lumber him with a sick person'

Chingosho (after the surgery) told her fiance they shouldn’t pursue a relationship because she’d be in and out of hospital and ‘didn’t think it was fair to lumber him with a sick person’

The trainee nurse said: 'Aldo has saved my life and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with him'

The trainee nurse said: ‘Aldo has saved my life and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him’

‘He received the news over the phone while I was sleeping and woke me up in tears,’ she added.

‘He kept saying, “I’m a match”. I told him, “You’re lying, it’s impossible, you can’t be”.

‘We were both in complete shock but we were over-the-moon. It was like all my birthdays had come at once.’ 

The pair underwent the kidney transplant on February 21 this year at University of Leicester Hospital.



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