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Sofia Kamran

Sofia Kamran's volunteering journey began long before her mother’s kidney failure diagnosis. Inspired by her uncle, who donated one of his kidneys over 30 years ago, she registered as an organ donor in her early 20s and began her volunteering journey in 2019.

Now, residing in Canada, she’s a valued Kidney Foundation volunteer, dedicated to raising funds to help research and to spreading awareness about organ donation, especially to the ethnic minoritized groups who she feels historically have been more reluctant than others when it comes to organ donation. “If by listening to me, a small percentage of people change their minds, and register as organ donors, then I would’ve achieved my goal,” Sofia said. 

Sofia didn’t hesitate to offer one of her kidneys to her mother when it became clear she needed a transplant for better health and quality of life. “I can never forget what my mom said to me. She was in a very dark place, she had no hope and I said ‘don't worry, mom, I will do it for you,’” Sofia recollects. Her selfless act was shocking to some of her friends and family who expressed concern about her health and future. Sofia was already a mother to her oldest son and expecting another one soon.

She took all the tests required and consulted with many doctors before going through with the transplant. Her husband, who is an anesthesiologist, reassured her about her decision and supported her throughout every step of her journey.

Before making her decision, she was aware of the immense impact her donation would have on her own family; it was crucial to her to have her husband’s blessing and support. “I wouldn’t have donated my kidney if my husband didn’t support me. His support made this journey possible for me” Sofia said.

Donating an organ not only affects the donor’s life but also has an immense impact on their family as well. The process can be physically and emotionally draining. Although there are living donor wage replacement programs available in Canada, donors also must consider any financial concerns which may occur from being away from work. For those reasons, Sofia wants potential donors to discuss their intentions with their families and to include them in the decision-making process. “I have seen suffering from the patient’s side and I know how the donor’s family gets affected as well,” Sofia explained.

After surgery, Sofia and her mother recovered well and within a few weeks, her mother regained her positive mindset on life. “When I went to Pakistan for the transplant, I saw her in the worst state of health. She was constantly sick. She was weak and, along with all the other physical symptoms she was experiencing from dialysis and renal failure, she was severely depressed as well,” Sofia recalls. “After the transplant, I was so happy to see the significant positive impact my little sacrifice has had on her. She was enjoying life again!” The experience gave Sofia a unique perspective on organ donation and made her extremely passionate about the cause.

Just like her mother’s extended family, a lot of people are reluctant about registering for organ donation. “Although my mother came from a large extended family, because of cultural differences and religious beliefs, not a single relative offered to be her donor. They all wished her good health but no one was ready to offer her the help she needed,” Sofia said. Most religious groups support organ donation and/or respect individual choices. We encourage you to consult with your religious leaders if you have any questions about faith and organ donation.

Her mission now is to raise awareness about organ donation and teach people how a single selfless act can immensely and positively alter someone’s life.  “If we don't come forward when someone needs help, then how can we expect them to come forward to help us?” she asked.

Sofia is currently planning a fundraiser, the Inspiration Dinner, alongside other volunteers with The Kidney Foundation’s Atlantic Branch.

“We have been holding meetings for the fundraiser and I will be getting in touch with some of my contacts to invite as this cause is very dear to my heart,” Sofia said. She added that being part of The Kidney Foundation is comforting, knowing that her work, especially for fundraising events such as the Inspiration Dinner, will help patients and their families during their most challenging times.

“Volunteering is a wonderful thing to do because our community does a lot for us and it’s good to give back,” she tells us. Sofia urges everyone to volunteer in their own capacities and make a change in someone’s life. According to her, “even if all you can do is lend an ear and support someone emotionally, that is also great. People need it.”