Call it loyalty, trustworthiness and above all, the true definition of love. That is the story of the late Margaret Klutsey (Mrs) - nee Nyantekyi - who suddenly passed away at the Kings College Hospital, London, UK on March 10, 2019 at age 69.
Mrs Klutsey became the centre of attraction when she donated her kidney to save the precious life of her husband, then Lt. Col. Emmanuel Agbeko Klutsey, at the London Bridge Hospital in Britain in September 1996.
At the time, the act was not common in many parts of the world. So for an African woman to embark on such a journey was more than making history.
After living for more than 20 years after the donation, the Lord has called the brave, courageous and charismatic woman to eternal glory.
Mrs Klutsey will always be remembered by her family, friends, acquaintances and The Mirror family for the bold and audacious step she took to save her family at the time.
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Show of love
In the July 4, 1998 issue of The Mirror, the late Margaret Safo (former Editor) did a story on how Mrs Klutsey sacrificed to save her husband because she said she felt no fear, no doubts or worry. What was paramount in her mind was the urgent need to save her husband’s life, who had been living out his last days at the London Bridge Hospital after suffering from kidney problems.
According to Brigadier General Klutsey, it all started in 1990 when he noticed that his feet were swelling up. He was admitted to the 37 Military Hospital for three months after which he was discharged.
Later, when he went on a training programme in the US, he took advantage of that to have a thorough medical check-up. It was then that he discovered that he had kidney problems. He said he did not know the magnitude of the problem until 1995 when his condition worsened despite the fact that he had been on medication since he returned to Ghana.
The Ghana Armed Forces immediately arranged for him to be sent to the London Bridge Hospital in Britain. After initial medical examination, it was confirmed that his condition was very serious, so dialysis treatment was started to stabilise his condition.
When the situation became critical, Brigadier General Klutsey needed a kidney transplant, and that meant that a donor needed to be found. The doctors, therefore, asked that a donor had to come from a close relative, either a biological brother, sister, son or daughter.
Even though Brigadier General Klutsey’s younger brother agreed to donate his initially, he later changed his mind. The next option was his daughters, who readily offered to help their dad, but Mrs Klutsey would not allow them since they were young and that could lead to complications.
With the two options blown away, Mrs Klutsey told the doctors that she was ready to donate one of her kidneys to her husband. The doctors were hesitant in the beginning, but they later accepted after a board was set up by the British Medical Board to give approval, as well as ensure that the donor was not forced to do so.
After a series of tests were conducted - which took between three and four months to complete - which came out positive to the amazement of everybody, Mrs Klutsey’s kidney was compatible with that of her husband. Mrs Klutsey described this phenomenon as the doing of the Lord.
According to the doctors, after the surgery, the donated kidney could fail, and that means they had toiled in vain so to speak.
By the grace of God, the transplant was successfully carried out in September 1996 and after 10 days at the hospital, the couple were discharged from the facility.
Brigadier General Klutsey told The Mirror that his wife became the showpiece at the hospital after the transplant because many people could just not believe that a woman could offer her kidney to save her husband’s life.
Interestingly, Mrs Klutsey said when they returned to Ghana, some friends and acquaintances were wondering if it was worth the while to make such a donation. “What if the man runs off with another woman after all this sacrifice?” they continued to ask her.
But Mrs Klutsey said she had no remorse whatsoever because she still loved and trusted her husband.
One year after the transplant, Brigadier General Klutsey summed it up to The Mirror thus: “We are now more than one flesh because it is her organ which is keeping me going.”
Mrs Klutsey observed that her example had encouraged others in Britain to also donate kidneys to their relatives.
“When they saw me and realised that I was looking and feeling good after the transplant, they realised they could also do it and continue to lead a normal life,” she said.
In an email to console the husband, Dr Kamal Ahmed, who happened to have been part of the team that did the kidney transplant, described the late Mrs Klutsey as a remarkable, selfless, intelligent and compassionate African woman who was also full of pride, dignity and was truly ahead of her time.
“Margaret will be greatly missed by her family, especially you, Emmanuel, but also by all the loved ones and by other people like me who have had the privilege to have known her, but of course her love, kindness and memories will forever be with us all,” he said.
Until her death, the couple had been married since 1972 with two children and two grandchildren.
The funeral will take place on Sunday, May 26, 2019 at Asokore-Ahensan in the Ashanti Region and interment at the Asokore-Ahensan Cemetery.
She was survived by her husband, now Brigadier General Emmanuel Agbeko Klutsey (Retd) and currently the Deputy Defence Attaché at Ghana’s High Commission in London.
She left behind two children - Mabel Korkor Appiah-Kubi and Esther Dzashie Aidoo - and two grandchildren, Catherine Appiah-Kubi and Jasmine.
The thanksgiving service will take place on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at the Labone SDA Church in Accra at 10:30 a.m.
The Mirror grieves
We at The Mirror, and by extension our mother company, Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), grieve with the family, especially the husband and children.
While Mrs Klutsey’s death has come to us as a surprise, we console ourselves with the fact that she lived an exemplary life and see her as the kind of woman indicated in Proverbs 31:10-31: “A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long. She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing. She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises… She doesn't worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear…”
Fare thee well Margaret