Brother Gives Kidney to Brother

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Manila –Once in a while, we come across real life and heart-warming stories in Cordillera that tugs at the heart.

That once in a while happened in Baguio City because an elder brother gave part of himself as the greatest gift to his younger brother this coming Christmas.

More remarkable, that once in a while happened because people in the city, Benguet and elsewhere in Cordillera also helped it to happen, so a young fellow continues to have a normal life.

It comes in the records of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) that the brother giving his kidney to his brother both hail from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Last December 3, two Cordilleran brothers from Baguio City simultaneously went under the knife at the NKTI in a successful operation that culminated with the elder brother unstintingly giving one of his kidneys to his younger brother who was diagnosed suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Bismarck Bengwayan, Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Region 1 (PDEA-RO1) had no qualms but instead, resoluteness to spare one of his kidneys so his brother, Bridger, will survive as normal as can be.

Bridger Bengwayan, who works as radiologist at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) was suspected suffering from kidney toxicity as early as 2017.

Bridger’s problem came to light after a series of medical workup was completed by Dr. Prosesina Luspian of BGHMC who, after conducting laboratory tests, advised Bridger be subjected for further tests at NKTI, in Quezon City.

It was NKTI which finally declared Bridger suffering from CKD, a grave condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function as time goes on.

In short, Bridger needed kidney transplant or must constant undergo dialysis later on if he is to continue surviving.

A progressive disease, CKD eventually can worsen in the future and deteriorates into kidney failure. If the kidneys fail, a patient needs dialysis or kidney transplant.

In kidney transplant, donor and receiver undergo series of tests. Bismarck and Bridger both underwent blood test that determined compatibility, tissue typing and cross-matching, among other medical tests.

Before the operation, Bridger’s friends conceived a “Dinner for a Cause,” done December 9 at the Cathedral of the Resurrection, Baguio City, to help defray kidney transplant cost amounting to over 1.6 million pesos, excluding medicines.

Thousands responded to the cause. Many failed to attend the dinner, being outside Baguio City or were indisposed. Yet they chipped in just as well, not really for the dinner, but for an overriding goal: to pull Bridger from the brink of an abyss, a young fellow just starting out in life.

The family of Bismarck and Bridger is again expressing its profound gratitude to all and sundry.

The evening of December 3, Aida Bengwayan, the brothers’ mother and nurse at BGHMC, Karen Tegan, Mankayan Elementary School principal and mother-in-law of Bridger and, Glenda Dailay, Bismarck’s wife, were at NKTI to rally the spirits of the brothers.

The four mothers were accompanied to NKTI by Atty. Brenner Bengwayan, Baguio City Sanggunian secretary and brother of Bismarck and Bridger.

While at home in Baguio, Rosa Bengwayan, Bismarck and Bridger’s grandmother kept her vigil while her grandsons’ lives were at knife’s tip.

Four women, Aida, Karen, Glenda and Rosa, truly mothers, wife and grandmother to the brothers in their time they needed comfort while in battle for their lives.

Indeed, what can one say to any mother, mother-in-law, wife or grandmother when uncertainty hover over their sons, husbands or “apos,” but that heaven has imprinted on their faces which claims kindred to the skies.

Their waking, watchful eyes, which keep their tireless vigils over slumbering children, husbands or “apos,” their tender looks and smiles are objects which neither the pencil nor chisel can reach, and which poetry fails in attempting to portray.

Around 6 o’clock, morning of December 4, the two brothers were wheeled into two separate but adjacent operating rooms.

There, two groups of NKTI surgeons and their teams simultaneously operated on Bismarck and Bridger, an operation that took almost 7 hours to complete.

From December 4 to December 8, their mother, Aida Bengwayan, was at the bedsides of her sons.

From the start of confinement of Bismarck and Bridger at NKTI leading to the kidney operation, Brimmer, last of their brothers, had been with them.

Last December 7, the NKTI ordered the release of Bismarck. Bridger followed suit the following day. Both are now recuperating at home.

In the eyes of Glenda Dailay and her son, ten months old Bryngulf, their daddy, Bismarck is a hero.

Indeed, others see it that way too, which nobody can dispute. For in the eyes of the Department of Health (DOH), it also takes guts, the will and determination to be a kidney donor.

For as Bismarck laughing said to his younger brother before the kidney transplant, “Hey Bro, take good care of my kidney. That’s the last one you’ll ever get.”

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