The “We are in a Race to Save Life” run organized by MEDICANA Health Group as part of Organ Transplantation Week on 3-9 November, brought hundreds of volunteers together on Caddebostan beach. Citizens, athletes, at the event attended by patients waiting for transplants and patient relatives and health care workers, have drawn attention to Turkey, in which 25 thousand people waiting for organ transplants in general. 100 people became organ donors at the event, where volunteer champions who completed the race in the top three won awards.
The event organized in cooperation with Medicana Health Group and Kadıköy Municipality in order to raise awareness about organ transplantation, the “We are in the Race to Save Life” run was realized with the participation of hundreds of people,including Medicana Health Group Chairman Dr. Hüseyin Bozkurt, CEO of the Group Reha Özkaya, CEO of MBA Schools Okan Dilik, Medicana Health Group managers, doctors and health workers, Deputy Mayor of Kadıköy Keriman Nalbant, Kadıköy Red Crescent Branch President Numan Hocaoğlu, Head of Youth and Sports Directorate Zafer Batar. In addition to Fenerbahçe Sports Club Athletics Branch, transplant patients, patient relatives and hundreds of citizens also attended the event.
Professional cyclists İbrahim Talha Pınar and Osman Şirin supported the race, which was organized to draw attention to the importance of organ transplantation, by cycling from Ankara to Istanbul. The two delivered the organ transplant manifesto they carried from Ankara to Istanbul. Medicana Health Group Organ Transplantation Department Head Prof. Dr. Murat Tuncer read the manifesto, the race was started, accompanied by the rhythmic performance of the Carnaval Turco Percussion Group.
“EVERY DAY 28 DIALYSIS PATIENTS LOSE THEIR LIVES”
Medicana Health Group Organ Transplantation Department Head Prof. Dr. Murat Tuncer stated that, according to Ministry of Health data, particularly in Turkey, 21 thousand 551 kidney, 2 thousand 93 liver, 918 heart patients, which is a total of 24 thousand 819 people on the waiting list for organs to be transplanted.
Tuncer said, “According to Turkish Nephrology Association registry records in 2017, 10 thousand 98 people died in dialysis only in the same year (2017). In other words, we are facing a severe situation such as losing 28 dialysis patients in a day. 22 thousand out of 60 thousand dialysis patients are on the waiting list, and we should give these people the hope that “you too should enter the waiting list, your life can be saved”. I also tell my patients that they hav no deficiencies, but more than that. Here, too, my patients showed this by getting a degree. Organ transplantation is very important for our happiness and our country. “There is a need to raise awareness about organ transplantation.”
“OUR MAIN GOAL IS TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF TRANSPLANTATIONS”
Prof. Dr. Tuncer said that people should not be afraid of organ transplantation, by emphasizing that they are running to raise awareness about organ transplantation. Stating that their main goal is to increase the number of transplants, Tuncer said, “We are in a very good position in living kidney transplants. We can even transplant 7-dominoes. In live kidney transplantation, every patient can be transplanted easily, we do not look for blood group compatibility as before. “Our main goal is to increase the number of transplants from cadavers, unfortunately we are pretty far behind in this regard.”
AT THE AGE OF 8, KIDNEY TRANSPLANTED FIRST FROM A CADAVER AND THEN FROM THE MOM
Muhsine Acar, mother of 8-year-old Ömer Acar, who has a congenital kidney disease, said that Ömer was transplanted from a cadaver when he was 2 years old. Mother Muhsine Acar, who stated that Ömer’s body rejected the transplant from cadaver after 4 years, said, “I gave my son my own kidney 8 months after the body rejected the kidney. It was a very difficult process, our time was always spent in hospitals. He could not eat what he wanted and was constantly getting sick. We were disappointed to learn that the first transplanted kidney did not work. Knowing that he will be on dialysis again made me very sad. We started a new life by donating my kidney. Now we have a social life, I am very happy. My health is very good with a single kidney. “I would do anything for my son.”
Prof. Dr. Murat Tuncer says that he nicknamed him as Spiderman. 8-year-old Ömer Acar said, “I am very happy to be Spiderman. I can always run and play like him. I am very happy, thank you, ”he said.
“I AM SUPPOSED TO BE IN DIALYSIS, BUT THANKS TO THE TRANSPLANTATION, I AM HERE”
Zeynel Vatansever, one of the transplant patients who were among the participants of the event and who clung to life with the kidney he received from his wife, explained the disease process. Vatansever said, “I am here thanks to the transplant when I should be on dialysis” and said that he went to the doctor with symptoms such as swelling of the feet and fatigue, and he remained on dialysis for 2.5 months before the transplantation. “It was very difficult to be tied to the machine,” said Vatansever. I clung to life with the sacrifice of my wife and the success of our doctor. I had prepared myself to undergo dialysis, but our doctors constantly explained that kidney transplantation did no harm to my wife and me, and it gave morale. People do not know things without losing their value. It is necessary to raise people’s awareness about organ transplantation, it is very difficult to find donors and donors are very important. Right now, I am here when I should be on dialysis and I am healthy, my wife is also in good health and her transplant did not hurt her. “When people give a kidney, they don’t lose anything from their lives,” he said.
HEALTH AWARD TO VOLUNTEER CHAMPIONS
The race, organized on the 5 km track, witnessed a meaningful struggle. As a result of the evaluation made by the referees, Necla Erberk came first, Merva Nur Çokel second, and Rana Elik third in the women’s category. In the men’s category, Şafak Nalbantoğlu came first and Fikri Erdoğan came second and Metin Deniz came third. Gold, silver and bronze plaques and check-ups were presented to the winning participants, while all participants were given medals. After the speeches and the award ceremony, Carnaval Turco Percussion Group’s rhythm performance attracted great attention. The event ended with the zumba dance accompanied by the participants.