LONDON, UK- Macharia Gakuru is one Kenyan who's been to hell and back, quite literally. A busy man, who's love for bio-medical engineering saw him traverse the world, at one point almost lost it all.
He fell ill, unsure of the exact ailment, but he was ill. So ill that he had to be flown to London from Darfur to seek medical attention. That was the beginning of a whole new journey. A new chapter. One of resilience, determination, a bit of lost hope and resurgence, nonetheless.
"I was told I was very ill, I was not urinating and was going into a state of a coma, I lost appetite, symptoms of kidney failure, one morning the doctor told me it has been confirmed you have kidney failure, so you have to go on dialysis," Gakuru opens up to Daring Abroad.
Also on Daring Abroad: How Joseph Warungu cheated death while working in war-torn Congo
Having studied biomedical engineering, Gakuru flew to the United Kingdom with determination to further his studies. Before pursuing further studies Gakuru had gained some exposure here through exchange programs in the medical field in the early 90s which made him marketable upon his return to Kenya.
On the show, Macharia Gakuru narrates to Daring Abroad how kidney failure changed his life, how he dealt with it and what he has been doing from then on. This was in May 2008.
"I was very ill, unable to urinate and was going into a state of a coma, I lost appetite," narrates. "These are the symptoms of kidney failure and one morning the doctor confirmed I had kidney failure so I had to go on dialysis."
Despite all these and all thanks to her sister who donated a kidney to him, Gakuru soldiered on, seeing an opportunity to help other people affected by the same. That back at home, victims of kidney failure deserve a second chance
"In this life, people have different callings, for me I want to see transformation of kidney transplantation in our country," he says. " I would not want those who have kidney failures to die but to travel my path," adds Gakuru.
Macharia Gakuru's inspiring story aired in last week's Daring Abroad that aired on both KTN and KTN News channels. In his life as a daring Kenyan , Gakuru has dared so many things; including vying to be a councilor in the UK in vain. He went to the UK in 1995 for further studies and later became a publisher, writer and broadcaster all in one.
So how was he able to juggle the many responsibilities?
"The whole purpose of coming here was not really to learn about medical engineering but the learn about the culture and the people of this country," he tells Daring Abroad. "I wanted to integrate, I wanted to learn how they do things and take them back to the Kenya I love."
It is a condition in which the kidneys lose the ability to remove waste and excess water from the bloodstream. As waste and fluids accumulate, the other body systems get affected, potentially leading to complications. Kidney failure is divided into two categories: chronic kidney disease which is a longstanding disease of the kidney leading to renal failure and acute renal failure, a condition in which kidneys suddenly cannot filter waste from blood.
"Funny thing about kidneys is that if they fail, they fail both of them, when they work, they work both of them," says Gakuru. Adding that, "That is why kidney transplantation has nothing that would disable the donor, if you want to donate a kidney to your sister or brother there is not danger in you doing so."