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BEHIND THE SCENES: Guelph woman gives stranger second chance at life

GuelphToday reporter Taylor Pace takes us behind the scenes

Gulwinder Sandhu, a hemodialysis patient for over five years, received a life-changing gift from a stranger named Bethany Pate. Pate, upon hearing about Sandhu's health struggles through a mutual friend, selflessly decided to donate one of her kidneys. After being tested in March 2022, Pate discovered that she was a match for Sandhu, a resident of Brantford.

When Sandhu's family of five received the news, they were overwhelmed with gratitude and emotions. Despite never having met Pate before, the family deeply appreciated her willingness to help. Sandhu's daughter, Simran, expressed that the gesture meant more than words could express, as even family members may not go to such lengths to support each other these days.

However, Sandhu's health complications, including a partial foot amputation, delayed the transplant procedure. Eventually, on May 23 of the same year, the surgery took place at the St. Joseph Transplant Clinic in Hamilton. Just a week before the surgery, Pate and Sandhu met for the first time during a pre-operative appointment. Pate instantly knew she was doing the right thing when she looked into Sandhu's eyes and felt a strong connection. Sandhu, expressing his gratitude, said he had prayed to God, and God had sent Pate.

The pair met again a few days later, where Sandhu questioned Pate about her motivations for helping him. Pate explained that she would hope for the same support if it were her father or husband in need. Despite the risks involved, Pate was not scared and only wanted the transplant to succeed for Sandhu's sake.

Sandhu's health struggles began when his job as a long-haul truck driver, combined with his diabetic condition, negatively affected his kidneys. Complications arose when he was diagnosed with pneumonia, which turned out to be a heart blockage. Subsequent medical tests and procedures further decreased his kidney function, ultimately leading to dialysis treatment for the past five years. Sandhu's physical limitations and inability to pursue his passions, like singing and working, had taken a toll on him and his family.

Since receiving the kidney transplant, Sandhu's voice has improved, and he is regaining his energy. He looks forward to embracing life again, working, singing, and spending quality time with his loved ones. The family plans to resume their regular trips to India, which they couldn't undertake during Sandhu's dialysis period.

The bond between the Sandhu and Pate families has grown stronger through this experience. Pate's sister met Sandhu's family when she accompanied Pate for the surgery, and they continue to stay in touch. Sandhu considers Pate his sister and shows concern for her well-being, while Pate expresses her deep love and connection to the Sandhu family.

Pate now aims to raise awareness about living organ donation, emphasizing that it is possible to lead a healthy life with one kidney. Sandhu's recovery journey is ongoing, but he is improving day by day, feeling grateful for the second chance he has been given.

May 23 marked the day when Gulwinder Sandhu regained his life, thanks to Bethany Pate's selfless act of donating her kidney.

Video Summary:

In a heartwarming act of kindness, Bethany Pate, a woman from Guelph, donated her kidney to a complete stranger, Gulwinder Sandhu. Pate's decision to donate was inspired by her empathy and the thought of what she would do if her own family members were in need. Sandhu, a diabetic and former long-haul truck driver, had faced numerous health complications, including a misdiagnosed heart blockage and subsequent kidney damage. Despite these challenges, Pate and Sandhu formed an immediate connection when they met a week before the surgery, and their bond continues to grow even after the successful transplant.

With the new lease on life provided by the kidney transplant, Sandhu is eager to return to his normal activities, such as working, singing, and spending time with his family. His previous physical limitations and the inability to pursue his passions have taken a toll on him, but he is now hopeful for a brighter future. Pate, on the other hand, aims to raise awareness about living organ donation, emphasizing the positive impact it can have on both the donor and the recipient. Their inspiring story highlights the selflessness and resilience that can emerge from such acts of compassion.

Overall, this story serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative power of organ donation and the deep connections that can form between strangers through acts of kindness and generosity.