'I Didn't Know Men Can Also Give Life'

Lior's life was in mortal danger, until Gabi, a complete stranger, stepped in to offer his kidney; 'G-d is the one who gives life here.'

Yoni Kempinski, Ari Yashar,

Gabi and Lior
Gabi and Lior
Courtesy of the families

Lior (34) of Kiryat Shmuel, located outside Haifa, was healthily enjoying life with his two kids, when he suddenly fell sick three years ago. Medical examinations revealed he needed a kidney transplant, and he began dialysis treatment.

His mother and brother went through similar transplants, although they received kidneys from people who had passed away, and Lior waited for a similar opportunity to save his life while contacting the Matnat Chaim organization to find an altruistic donor.

That's where Gabi Revivo (35) of Peduel, a town in Samaria to the east of Petah Tikva, came into the picture, offering his kidney to save the life of Lior who by now is the father of three.

Revivo, himself the father of six, told his wife before marrying her 15 years ago that donating a kidney is one of the challenges he intended to do even before they got married - last week, that aspiration materialized at Haifa's Rambam Hospital.

"It's not that scary; it's not something I think that anyone can decide one morning that he wants to do, but it's a big thing," said Revivo. Describing Matnat Chaim, an organization based in Jerusalem, he explained "they do the matching between people who want to donate a kidney and people who need a kidney."

When Revivo's 13-year-old daughter heard about her father's donation, she said "I didn't know men can also give life in the world."

"This kidney is not mine, it's something i was given by the Holy One blessed be He, and I think that's also the one who gives the life here," explained Revivo. "I was given the merit and the opportunity to be part of this big thing."

Revivo in fact has a background in medicine, having volunteered and worked for Magen David Adom (MDA), and now working in the marketing of medical devices.

"It doesn't endanger life, it saves life"

Matnat Chaim is marking five years since its founding, led by its founder Rabbi Yeshayahu Heber of Jerusalem who works on a volunteer basis out of his desire to save lives.

The group works to encourage donations and raise awareness, and to match patients who are unable to receive a transplant from family members due to various complications.

Volunteers of the organization accompany the patient and donator through the process up to the surgery, providing medical and bureaucratic support.

They have so far successfully managed over 150 transplants, although 740 patients are still on the waiting list for donations, and there are around 5,800 patients undergoing dialysis who can't have a transplant due to their medical condition.

Rabbi Hever, himself the recipient of a kidney transplant, said "the transplant of a kidney between strangers is a great merit, which I hope many people will take part of. The simple process doesn't endanger life, it saves life."




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