Ugandan filmmaker, actress, writer, dancer, and visual artist Esteri Tebandeke says her fundraiser has collected 25,000 dollars (90 million shillings) for her kidney transplant that will be conducted in India.
The artist is commonly known for her appearances in films like Sins of the Parents (2008), Master On Duty (2009), Queen of Katwe (2016), and Her Broken Shadow (2016), among others.
While appearing on The Fatboy Show, Esteri narrated that she discovered that she had chronic kidney disease in 2015 on a visit to the hospital to see a gynaecologist.
"One day, I went to see a gynaecologist for a pain in my lower abdomen, and he advised that I get scanned. The lady who did the scan was the one who saved my life. She said that I had paid money and I should get a full scan. She noticed that I had small kidneys, and I was advised to see a kidney specialist. That's when I found out that I had chronic kidney disease,” Esteri recounted.
Esteri narrated that the discovery came when she was cast for Queen of Katwe. She recalled freaking out and falling into extreme depression, thinking that she was to die since both kidneys were 30 percent functional.
Although the cause of her condition is unknown, doctors suspect that it might have been strong painkillers taken during childhood such as diclofenac that led to the devastating consequences.
She also mentioned that even though her quest to find a donor from relatives was rocky, her husband Samuel Tebandeke had offered to be her donor from the beginning till the tests approved him as a suitable donor.
She explained that, “the operation will be in India and 87,000 dollars is for everything. Pre-treatment (dialysis), then the surgery itself, aftercare, then I have to be on medication for the rest of my life. Its also for immunosuppressants to make the body not reject the kidney. And then travel accommodation. We need a caregiver while there, so the money is for all that.
Esteri noted that with 90 million shillings (25000 dollars collected), 62,000 is needed to reach the target before leaving for India in July 2022.
She said, “we can afford to go for the surgery now, but we don't know how long it will take us there because there are people who go there and spend four months, others eight months, so we have to know how long we will spend. We have to spend six weeks there before the surgery and may be spending another six weeks to recover. So it's just us preparing and budgeting for the worst.”
Currently, there’s an ongoing social media campaign to save Esteri's life dubbed ‘Go Green for Esteri’ that seeks a contribution of 5,000 shillings per person. The mobile money numbers are 0772549540 (MTN) and 0757489459 (AIRTEL).
Still, as part of the fundraising, Esteri is holding a dinner at Malen Green and lounge that will go for 200,000shillings per person and 350,000 shillings for a couple on Saturday 11, June 2022, intended to save the life of Esteri Tebandeke.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, and Sarah every weekday from 6 am to 10 am on RX Radio.