For Kerala Muslim man,Catholic priest brings the gift of life

Fr Sebastian met ailing Rasad Muhammad on a bus,decided to give him a kidney

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Published: April 11, 2013 1:34 am

Diagnosed with chronic kidney disease a year-and-a-half ago,30-year-old Rasad Muhammad’s hope of living had sunk with each passing day as a donor remained elusive. Until last month,when his saviour appeared suddenly — in the form of a Christian priest he had never met before.

Father Kidangathazhe Sebastian,41,will donate one of his kidneys to Rasad so he can live. Preparations are under way,and the transplant surgery is likely to be performed next month.

On February 25,Rasad had boarded a bus from Aluva to go to Kochi for his check-up. Fr Sebastian,who is associated with the Catholic Goodness TV,and who was then not wearing his cassock,was seated next to him.

“He looked very weak and burdened. He told me the story of his tragedy and his desperate search for a kidney donor,” Fr Sebastian said. “I was seized of the pain of a life facing death. I made a cursory query about his blood group,which matched mine.”

For the priest from Idukki,the fortuitous match held special significance. It signalled to him the end of his silent quest to practise what he had been preaching.

“Inspired by the story of Fr Davis Chiramel,who had donated one of his kidneys to a Hindu man in 2009,I had been longing to make the same sacrifice. Somewhere,I hoped,I would meet the deserving person. What mattered to me most was that the decision would save a life. I realised that the person seated beside me in the bus was the most deserving person,’’ he said.

The following day,they went to the hospital to start the procedure for donation and transplant. The tests have been positive. “A few counseling sessions and a final nod from the medical board remain. In all probability,the transplant will take place within a month,” said the priest.

Rasad said he was initially shocked by the words of the stranger in the bus. “But,in the next moment,I realised that a priest would not lie.”

Rasad had been a salesman in Saudi Arabia until kidney disease cost him his sight and forced him to return home to Harippad in Kerala. He could see again,but there was little chance of his surviving without a transplant. Rasad,the only breadwinner for his ailing parents and minor brother,advertised for donors.

“A few donors turned up,but nothing materialised. In the meantime,touts cheated me of Rs 2.5 lakh. I was dependant on periodic dialyses in a private hospital in Kochi,” he said.

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