MOHW Shuang Ho Hospital, New Taipei City, Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

A critically ill 37-year-old Indonesian resident of Keelung, northern Taiwan, received a timely live kidney transplant from her elder sister despite the fact that the pair had been separated geographically for 17 years.

The Indonesian woman had come to Taiwan in 2000 and married a Taiwanese man who owned a fruit-retailing business, United Daily News reported. After he died a few years ago, the mother of two worked extremely diligently and hardly took any rest so as to make ends meet and look after her children.

According to a report by Taiwan Apple Daily, she often suffered symptoms such as vomiting, rapid breathing, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

On one occasion when she took the children to the zoo, she received a free screening for kidney disease, from which excess proteins were found in her urine sample. She took medication but her condition deteriorated quickly.

Admitted to the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Shuang Ho Hospital in New Taipei City, the woman was diagnosed with uremia, pulmonary edema, and heart dysfunction. She was advised to receive a live kidney donation.

The ill woman told reporters that while she did mention her failing health to her family in Indonesia, she did not expect her elder sister to make the sacrifice to save her life.

Her sister came to Taiwan in August for hospital analysis to see if she could be a donor, which found she was a match.

Laparoscopic surgery was carried out successfully and the ailing woman started to recover within six days of the transplant.

She said she was extremely grateful for the unconditional love and genuine care from her elder sister, without which she would not have been able to live on.