Ijaz Sajjad has worked in health care for a long time. His job isn’t what most people picture when they think of a career in that field, but it’s just as important. He is the chief engineer for the co-generation plant at Hamilton Health Sciences’ McMaster University Medical Centre (MUMC). The plant produces the power that heats and cools the hospital, keeps the lights on, and runs life-saving equipment.
Now, Ijaz is the one in need of saving—in the form of a kidney transplant from a complete stranger.
Slowly losing kidney function
The 56-year old father of two was diagnosed with kidney disease nearly twenty years ago. His kidneys can’t filter his blood properly, so he doesn’t retain the nutrients he needs to thrive. His disease has gotten worse over time, and now his kidneys are failing.
“Six months ago I felt so tired,” Ijaz recalls. “I went to my doctor and I was told my kidneys were getting worse and I would soon need dialysis or a transplant.”
Ijaz is beginning kidney dialysis in the new year. Every night, he’ll be hooked up to a machine so his blood can be filtered and put back into his body. He’s opted for night time dialysis so he can continue working, because he loves his job. Still, dialysis isn’t a permanent solution. Ijaz is hoping for a kidney transplant so his life can return to normal.
The search for an unrelated kidney donor
His family members have been tested, but so far, no one is eligible to donate. That has sent Ijaz looking for creative ways to connect with a potential donor. He is speaking at local events, his family is posting to social media, and they even placed an ad on a billboard pleading his case.
“I’m hopeful someone will see this, and consider being tested as a potential donor,” he says.
Ijaz plans to keep working at MUMC for as long as his body will let him. He knows it could be a long time before he finds a donor, but he’s hoping for a Christmas miracle.
Ijaz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org