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Emirati girls need Israel’s support for a transplant after her mother’s kidneys stop working
Daughters from the UAE and Israel put differences aside to save lives in kidney exchange
Two girls from the United Arab Emirates and Israel have teamed up to save a colleague’s life, despite old racial prejudices.
The daughters of Jahia Al-Ali, a 61-year-old mother of three, are undergoing treatment in Israel and need the country’s support.
Al-Ali was recently diagnosed with advanced kidney failure and her three children are spearheading a campaign to raise funds to get an Israeli donor into the UAE to replace her kidney.
Her husband, Ali Mansour, told the Persian Gulf News newspaper that what he would give for an extra kidney, he would not take for his wife.
“My children will not leave me, so I don’t want to take a life from someone else,” he said.
The family also hope a home kidney transplant can save the life of the relative who donated the kidney.
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Al-Ali emigrated to the UAE from Israel in 1985 and worked for a dentist on Ras Al Khaimah. But when she was 36, both her kidneys became so badly damaged that she could no longer work.
Her three daughters, Allie, 45, Yazmin, 39, and Hafsa, 37, have all registered to be kidney donors and are asking others in their community to do the same.
“We are worried that it will not get there in time and the situation will be in their hands,” Allie said.
But with the aid of a British kidney specialist, the family’s plan became possible.
“It was a miracle,” Allie said of the visit to the UK, when her physician, Ed Henry, came to see them for the first time.
“I looked in his eyes and I was so grateful,” Al-Ali said.
The family, who are Emirati, thanked Henry, who has since gone on to work for a global organ donation company, for helping them make the operation possible.
“It was shocking. I did not know if I would ever see him again, but I was overjoyed,” Allie said.
In June, the family visited Henry and his wife, Asifah, at their UK home where they were introduced to the baby of the family.
“Their three daughters came and they came to my wife and I and I just burst into tears,” Asifah said.
The family also visited the charity raising funds in Britain for the surgery, called the Kidney Refusal Foundation.
“It was so overwhelming to know the whole country will be working so hard for a little girl in the UAE,” Asifah said.
However, the girls were also keen to show their support for their fellow co-worker.
“I really wanted to live with him and then take care of him with my kids,” Allie said.
Yazmin said her main motivation to take part in the operation was to make the donor feel secure.
“I just wanted to make the person feel comfortable and not have any problems,” she said.
The sisters, who were very close to their mother, called on the authorities in Abu Dhabi and the UAE to take action on the case.
“They should not let someone else live without our mother,” Yazmin said.
Yazmin and her sisters have also formed a committee and pledged to give three wheelchairs to people who have been “sidelined” by medical issues in the UAE.
“We have to give back to the community and I thought we should do something to make sure the children are being treated,” Yazmin said.