Sandra Dewar, 36, died from renal failure last Friday after she decided to end the medical treatment that could have kept her alive for another ten years.
In a message posted on her Facebook page five days before her death, she said: “As you know, I have had kidney failure for a long time and there has been complications along the way but I feel lucky to have got this far.”
She admitted to feeling scared about what lay ahead and begged her friends and family to make the most of life and stay safe.
The former Perth High School student was diagnosed with kidney failure when she was 13. She managed to complete her schooling and started work at a care home, but at the age of 19 was forced to begin dialysis before undergoing a kidney transplant in 2008.
However, the operation was unsuccessful and she had to spend much of her last year bedridden in Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital. After more than two decades of hoping for a cure, she made the decision to switch off the dialysis machine two weeks before her death.
Yesterday her brother William, 31, revealed that his sister had chosen to stop all medical intervention in secret and waited several days before breaking the news to those closest to her.
“She could have lived up to another ten years on the dialysis, but she would have suffered a great deal,” he said. “Obviously we were very upset when we found out as we didn’t want to lose her, but we all respected her decision and knew we would not be able to change her mind.It helps to know she is now at peace and there will be no more needles or operations. She battled bravely for a long time and will never be forgotten.”
He said his parents, Jeanette and James, stepfather Freddie and sister Jeanette, 35, were still trying to come to terms with what had happened.
On her Facebook page, Sandra listed her favourite quote as being: “Beauty is always on the inside. Looks aren’t everything, but it’s good to have that spark when you meet someone.”
“She loved life and was really sociable and outgoing – when she was fitter she enjoyed nothing more than going out dancing with her many friends,” said William.
A funeral service was held at Perth Crematorium yesterday where friends and family were asked to make contributions to Tayside Kidney Foundation and to sign up to the donor organ register – Sandra’s dying wish. Mourners wore bright colours at Sandra’s request.
William said: “We really want to promote organ donation as I know Sandra definitely would not want to see anyone suffer the way she did. The waiting list is so long for organs and some people aren’t lucky enough to get one before it’s too late. We want to encourage anything that could help others.”
SANDRA DEWAR’S FACEBOOK MESSAGE
“I feel lucky to have got this far.
But through no fault of my own my body can’t or I can’t take any more.
People think I am brave, but I am scared about the next few days as that’s what the doctors think I have left.
To all my family and friends… make the most of life and stay safe! All my love Sandra”