HARARE – Zimbabwean sprinter Gabriel Mvumvure has run many races and always found a way to cross the finish line.
He has even battled against time and seemingly insurmountable odds of chronic kidney disease and hypertension to be fit enough to represent Zimbabwe at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
His 10,28 seconds during the 100m dash at that sporting extravaganza earned him 37th place at an event dominated by now retired Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt, who carved his way into folklore by becoming the first athlete to win three Olympic 100m titles.
A year on, Mvumvure’s fate is not his hands but in the people who have often cheered him on from the sidelines whom he now hopes will carry him home.
Not to the finish line, but wildcard of sorts, enough to get him entry onto the starting line and in his words “from there God will do the rest”.
“The journey to this kidney transplant has been a hard and tough one,” Mvumvure said pouring his heart out on his blog this week.
“October 30th is the date set for my kidney transplant surgery. Though it seems like the battle is won, I’m not there yet. I still have to raise $20 000 in 13 days to reach our goal of $40 000 for this life-changing surgery to be a reality for me.
“Thank you for all your support. Please help me in any way you can by donating, and sharing this post. God bless you all.”
A standout 100m and 200m sprinter during his four-year collegiate career from 2008-11, Mvumvure’s seemingly promising career has been blighted by the kidney ailment.
“Unfortunately, the story doesn’t always turn out the way we imagine it…I found myself in a hospital emergency room,” Mvumvure said of his experience after Rio.
“My body had fluid overload. My kidneys were failing, my lungs were functioning at 70 percent which wasn’t good for my heart muscles, and I was coughing up blood because a sac of fluid had formed around my heart, squeezing it and stopping it from beating properly. I was in pretty bad shape.
“The doctors decided I had to get emergency dialysis to take out the excess fluid or else I had less than a few days to live. In four days of emergency dialysis sessions, they took out 12 litres of excess fluid from my body. I was in hospital for two weeks. Nearing the end of my hospital stay, I was feeling better. Unfortunately my kidneys couldn’t recover as I had suffered acute kidney failure.”
Mvumvure’s nephrologist later advised him that his kidneys were not strong enough to sufficiently clean his body of toxins and excess fluid and that he needed a kidney transplant.
“Many people stay on dialysis for the rest of their lives but those people also usually in their late 50’s or older. I’m 28. My nephrologist explained that I was too young to be on dialysis for the rest of my life because it would severely shorten my life span,” Mvumvure said.
“I would only have 10 years or less left to live. With a transplant I am able to have a normal life, a long, normal life span. I get a chance to have children, raise a family and fulfil the purpose that God put me on this earth for.
“As you may know healthcare in the US is expensive and the price for a complicated surgery like a transplant is high. I appeal to you my family and friends to help me raise money for my transplant and hospital bills by donating and sharing my story.
“This is a mountain I have to climb but I climb it with faith in God, I climb it knowing I have your help and I believe I will conquer it.
“This climb has made it more evident to me that we are all delicate instruments in the hand of a great and loving God. Though I may not always know the story, or why my story is written the way it is, he promises that everything will work together for my good. I trust him and I hope you do too.”