Newcastle born 66-year-old Arthur Reineke, who currently holds the title of South Africa’s oldest kidney transplant patient, is now sadly nearing his end.
When Arthur was 28 years old, he was diagnosed with glomerulonephritis and with kidney failure imminent, he needed a transplant in order to save his life. “I had my kidney transplant back in 1983,” he explains.
However, he needed to take anti-rejection medication for the remainder of his life to ensure his body did not reject the kidney. Tracey Reineke, Arthur’s ex-wife, points out this caused cancerous growths on his skin. She adds, “Just over a year ago, Arthur moved to his sister in Durban to be closer to Albert Luthuli Hospital. When he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, his biggest wish was to return to Newcastle, so he could be closer to all his family and friends.”
With no medical aid and reliance on only a state pension, finances proved problematic in coming home and securing the necessary care. Despite facing this challenge, Tracey explains that community members immediately rose to the opportunity to help. “Ruth Fitzpatrick was an integral part of Arthur being able to return to his hometown and securing a place at Dave’s Haven.”
Fetching him from the hospital in Durban two weeks ago, Tracey and her son Ethan drove Arthur home. The two cared for him at their house until taking him to Dave’s Haven, the last place Arthur will call home.
Arthur explains the amount of love and care he has received has been a liberating experience. “The number of prayers, messages and phone calls have been humbling.” Reflecting on his journey with a terminal illness, he points out, “I can’t believe what has happened to me, and what is happening to me. I can’t explain what it feels like, but knowing there are people who want to help me and understand, makes it easier. I have been amazed by the kindness shown by the community and people such as Ruth Fitzpatrick. As for Tracey and Ethan, they are my angels.”
However, as one could imagine, fear and accepting that he is going to die is an overwhelming reality to digest. Tracey explains that she has seen Arthur break down over recent weeks as he comes to terms with his fate. “The hardest part has been acceptance. It is like watching an egg timer, seeing the final sands slipping through and trying to do as much as possible with the final time.” Smiling, Arthur adds that through his journey, life has taught him the importance of helping those in need, “From my transplant in 1983 until now, what people have done for me is amazing. I don’t know how much longer I have, but if could help someone, even if it is just R10, I would do it.”
Extremely thankful for everything the community has done and the effort and kindness exhibited by Dave’s Haven and Ruth Fitzpatrick; the kind-hearted Arthur does require assistance one last time. With no medical aid and only a state pension, Tracey explains that Arthur needs financial aid for his accommodation at the facilities and medication to help him through his final days. The required medicines are mainly morphine, assisting him with the immense pain he now contends with.
Anyone who can contribute, even if it is just R50, can deposit money into the following bank account:
Account Number: 1633635870
Through your generosity, you can help Arthur Reineke live out his final days in comfort and peace.
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