Back in 2008 when Rosina Mentoor was a young girl in Grade 4, she was diagnosed with Glaucoma in both eyes. At that point in time her right eye was the strongest, and she was fortunate enough to receive a cornea transplant on 28.07.08. The decision was taken by her specialist to delay surgery in her left eye, but to schedule another cornea transplant as soon as one became available.
Unfortunately this did not happen until 2014 when Rosina was in Grade 10. The corrective surgery was unsuccessful and Rosina completely lost the sight in her right eye. She is permanently blind in that eye.
In 2015 Rosina underwent further surgery to have armoured valve tubes inserted in her eye to reduce the pressure in the eye nerve. Her eye must be constantly monitored and at times she is required to take meds to ensure the pressure is maintained at a ‘norm’.
Rosina signed up as an organ & tissue donor at the end of January during this year’s Pukke Jool (North West University, Potchefstroom). Elize Scheepers, (also an alumni from this University) Coordinator for the Centre for Tissue Engineering launched an awareness campaign during the annual RAG/JOOL festival. With the buy-in from Prof. Fika van Rensburg (Rector) who set an example by registering as a donor, and with whose support further awareness opportunities will take place during the year. Charonike, of Puk FM, will also be involved in spreading the word, and motivating other universities to run similar campaigns where students will be educated and encouraged to register as an organ and tissue donor.
Rosina was motivated by her Mum to register as a donor, and also had the discussion with her brother who is an Anglican Reverend. Both encouraged Rosina to sign up as a donor.
Rosina feels blessed to have received the cornea donation, and is grateful to the donor family for their selfless gift which ultimately saved her vision in her right eye. Realising the value of becoming an organ and tissue donor and how this can change someone’s life for the better, Rosina would love to help others in turn and pay it forward by encouraging others to register. “If it helps somebody else in the long run then why not?” she asks.
Rosina is a first year student studying micro-biology and physiology, but can see herself working in a lab some day, ultimately helping others. She would love to study genetics and psychology.
Imagine if Rosina had been in a position to receive another cornea sooner? There is an enormous discrepancy between the numbers of registered donors and patients in need of a transplant in South Africa, and a great deal more education and awareness is needed.
We believe Rosina is a hero who by her example is breaking cultural taboos and boundaries, and motivating more of her peers to register and become heroes!