Inspired by YOU! Brave, Strong, Free – Lydia Afonso
Hello to all our readers and welcome to the first addition in our latest blog series. Our ‘Inspired by YOU’ series.
In this we will feature a client of ours once a month. This client will be someone who has previously purchased from us and is a fearless, strong and courageous person in their own lives. We get so many inspiring stories in our line of work and we absolutely LOVE that our clients want to share their journeys with us. We have been wanting to share some of their stories for the longest time so here you have it…
Our first ever installment is by the amazing Lydia Afonso, who donated a kidney to her husband’s cousin after he had been struggling for years. See her answers to our questions below;
- Please tell us how you spend an average day in your life?
I work from home as the Operations Manager for a brand new soon to be launched wine estate. I live in Joburg but travel to Cape Town often. Technology has allowed me to do my work from anywhere in the world (Provided there is decent wifi around) I spend my day in front of the computer, when in Cape Town I often pop round the cellar and farm for meetings. The blogging magic happens at night.
- You recently donated a kidney, which could be seen as one of the more selfless acts in life. Who did you donate it to, and could you tell us a bit more about what went into the decision making of that?
I donated my left kidney on the 23rd of February to my husband’s cousin (our best friend)
He has had lifelong issues with this and 7 years ago, he went into kidney failure and was started on Dialysis. 3 times a week for 4 hours at a time he was hooked up to a machine that filtered his blood for him. Basically, doing the kidneys job. As you can imagine, this is no life. He could not travel with us and always had to be near a unit to receive treatment when we did attempt to go away for a weekend. Seeing your best friend rely on machines for life is not easy. When I was 21 I was tested and found to be a match. But surgery was refused because I was too young. I promised him that should he still need one when I was old enough he can have mine. 7 years later we started testing again (It’s quite the process) and I was still a match. I kept my promise and he now has a bit of me inside of him.
The decision was big and of course I consulted my husband and family on the matter but my mind was made up when I was 21. Everyone deserves a chance at a normal life and if I could even give him a few years of that it was all worth it.
- Do you see yourself as in inspiration to others?
Inspiration? Probably not. But I do hope I inspire people to think about things like organ donation. When you are gone you can make such a difference in others’ lives. It is quite amazing. As sad and heart breaking as it is to lose someone, your loved one can help a mother who needs a heart to see her children grow up. One kidney can save a dad and another a baby clinging to life. Live donation might not be for everyone, but signing up as an organ donor should be.
- How did our jewellery come into play in your story?
In two ways really. My husband bought me a “she believed she could so she did” bracelet just before the operation. A little reminder that I can do anything I set my mind to. Even face my biggest fear of being put under anaesthesia. (Slice me open and take all my organs but don’t put me to sleep, it freaks me out)
I wear the silver bracelet with pride now know I really CAN do it.
Secondly the recipient of the kidney had a custom kidney charm made for me. It even has a a beautiful emerald on it too. Since he has mine he thought he would give me a little one back as a thank you. It now never leaves my arm and is a constant reminder of what we went through together.
- What in our brand resonates with you?
The passion in everything you make, each custom piece just feels like it was made with joy. Your love of unusual stones and unique designs are what attract me the most. You are such a vibrant brand and I like to be surrounded by vibrant things. I cannot wait to grow my JBJD collection with unique, exquisite pieces.
- Who inspires you daily to be a better and more inspiring person yourself?
I am so easy to be inspired. Perhaps I just surround myself with people who have that effect on me.
My husband, Oscar, for his unwavering wit and kindness to everyone around him. He can make Putin laugh I am sure of it. My best friend Megan (@ByMeganKelly) for her exceptional work ethic, massive heart and ability to just understand. My sister for being superwoman. Gosh too many to mention.
- If there was just one line you could say to help and inspire people the world over, what would you say?
You got this.
- Do you have any special inspirational quotes or mantras that are close to your heart? Please share them with us.
My mantra is: figure it out as you go along. I know far too many people who don’t do things because they fear failing. I have failed more times than I have won and I will probably fail at a million more things I try, but I try I will. There is never a perfect time for anything. Jump in and just figure it out as you go.
- Do you have any inspirations or heroes in life that you look up to?
Such a cliché but my Mum. She is living out her dreams in her 70’s and traveling the world. Just shows you, you are never too old to let go of a dream. While growing up we were all travel obsessed and for my mum she thought she would live vicariously through her children exploring the world. And late in life luck changed and she now gets to see all the places we used to look up in the atlas. To quote a classic movie, Under the Tuscan sun, “Great things can happen, even late in the game”
We are sure you can all agree with us that Lydia is one hugely inspiring lady!! We cannot wait to post more of our divine clients’ amazing stories!