Margaret Roman has been on end-stage kidney failure and placed on dialysis.

“It was 2013 when I was diagnosed with kidney failure and doctors at Tygerberg Hospital in Bellville, Cape Town told me that uncontrolled high blood pressure was the cause. I had to be put on dialysis immediately while I waited for a kidney transplant. It was the most devastating news for me and my family, with a lot of life adjustments. Not knowing when would I get a kidney probably made things worse,” she said.

But three years later Roman’s life is set to improve significantly thanks to the “ultimate gift of life” she received from Whitney,  her daughter.

Speaking from Tygerberg Hospital Bellville, Cape Town where she had the transplant three weeks ago, the 47-year-old mother said she had initially felt “guilty” about asking her daughter to donate her kidney.

 “I couldn’t bring myself to ask her even though nurses advised that I go through the test to see if she was a match,” she recalled.

After running several tests in 2014 it was confirmed that Whitney was a match. But Roman had to be patient before the transplant could be done because shortly before the operation was to be performed, Whitney found out she was pregnant.

This was bittersweet news to Roman as she was anxiously anticipating her kidney transplant, but at the same time was overjoyed to be a grandmother.

“Obviously she couldn’t donate and we had to wait for the baby to be born and for Whitney’s body to recover from the birth process. But it was worth all the waiting at the end. After relying on dialysis for three years, I can’t believe that it’s me who has a functioning kidney in my body,” she said.

Whitney is also over the moon that she was able to give back to her mother and save her life.

The kidney transplant went well without any complications and Whitney was able to visit her mother three days after the operation since her kidney was removed using “keyhole” surgery.

Roman, who has since been discharged from hospital, is also doing well, although she is at high risk of infection and has to wear a mask all the time and stay away from crowded places.

Dr Stephan Schoman, registrar in internal medicine at Tygerberg Hospital, said Roman’s life was set to improve dramatically after the transplant.

“The dialysis performs only 10 percent of the kidneys’ function, and is used as a breach management of kidneys. With her new kidney she is expected to feel better and have a longer life expectancy,” he said.