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Brother travels 13,000 miles to donate his kidney

IU Health University Hospital

Brother travels 13,000 miles to donate his kidney

When his brother’s kidney failed, Ram Cung Nung traveled from Southeast Asia to become a living organ donor.

There was a lot of excitement in a room on the transplant floor of IU Health University Hospital. There were also a lot of visitors.

Transplant nephrologist Dr. Asif Sharfuddin, stopped by to check on his patient, Aung K Oo, a friend stopped by and then there were family members – including Oo’s dad, Sui Di, and his brothers Boi Hmung and Ram Cung Nung.

There was cause for celebration. Nung traveled 13,000 miles from Burma, the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia, to become a living kidney donor for his brother.

It’s estimated that more than 123,000 people are listed for organ transplant nationwide; more than 100,000 are awaiting kidney donation. Nearly 7,000 transplants were made possible through living donation last year. Doctors with IU Health kidney transplant program perform more than 200 kidney transplants annually. Last year, the program ranked 33rd out of 240 kidney transplant centers.

Diagnosed with Stage 4 renal failure Oo was originally scheduled for transplant on February 14 but an illness delayed surgery. On May 29 under the care of IU Health surgeon, Dr. William Goggins, Oo received a new kidney from his brother. He had been on dialysis since March of 2018.

The son of Sui Di and Lian Uk the 32-year-old Oo is the third of six children including five boys and one girl. Nung, 26, said he was happy that he was a match for his brother. He proudly wore a shirt with the message: “Got Kidney? Share Your Spare.”

Married six years to Niangtha Oo, Aung Oo lives in Southport and is the father to a 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy.

“I feel great. The first thing I want to do is enjoy a beach vacation with my family,” said Oo. “Then I want to get back to work.” Before he became ill, Oo worked as a Medicaid specialist for the state. “I am thankful for my health. I am grateful to my brother, and I am happy for such great care.”

-- By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email