Passing urine is something Emmanuel Gitau has not experienced for the last 15 years after his kidneys failed after three transplant attempts.

The 36-year-old has been without kidneys and his life entirely depends on dialysis twice a week. Loss of his kidney has led to deformities which have impacted greatly on how people look at him.

Emmanuel says,

“I have always been a sickly child but the kidney problems started back in 2001 while I was in form four.

I underwent a duodenum operation where I used to survive on a quarter tank of blood and 11 pints of blood.

After that period the next 7 months were peaceful and thought that my life was now coming together.”

Emmanuel (2nd from left )with his siblings
Emmanuel (2nd from left )with his siblings

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What Emmanuel did not know, the end of that seven months marked the beginning of a long journey for him,

“After seven months a visit to Kijabe Hospital showed that I was suffering from Kidney Failure .

At the time I did not think of the impact the disease will have on his life.

I thought it was something I could manage with medication.”

Like many kidney failure patients, Emmanuel had ignored the signs when the body signaled him and this led him to undergo an emergency dialysis since the disease had shot to a dangerous level.

He has lived with the disease for the last 15 years and he admits it’s not been easy.

“Its been a long journey considering i have done 3 transplants,21 major operations and being told by the doctor that I had 3 months to live.

I am better off because back then I used to walk with crutches but for now I can not sit, sleep or walk for long due to pains in my body”


Doctors advised him to consider a kidney transplant so that he would improve his quality of life.

His mother’s kidney was rejected and it’s only his father’s kidney which was compatible with him.

After undergoing the transplant, Emmanuel developed high-grade fever which led to the kidney rotting and eventually bursting.

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Despite the disappointment, Emmanuel’s brother decided to offer his kidney but it was also rejected by the body after Emmanuel developed a high-grade fever after the transplant which led to the kidney complications which eventually led to rotting.

Emmanuel (in purple)during his trip to India for the transplant

He says,

“Kidney failure is demoralizing it is stressful  but losing a graft (kidney) is more painful psychological,emotionally and even physically.”

They decided to do a third transplant and Emmanuel’s sister was the donor, and the operation was successful, the most compatible among the other two.

After one month the kidney graft started failing. After many procedures (11), the new kidney failed and since then Emmanuel survives on dialysis twice a week.

The disease has come with its own challenges since it led to deformity which left him with a hunched back.

He has also faced ridicule from strangers. He says,

“On Kiambu road near Oilybia, some two taxi men saw me and started laughing at me.

One said I looked like a pig while the other said I looked like someone who would die the next minute.

What they do not know is that I was born normal; a tall handsome man who loves swimming and basket ball but all that joy has been robbed and now I cannot even run.”

Emmanuel (in red)back in the days before the disease struck
Emmanuel (in pink)back in the days before the disease struck