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Ontario man now holds world record as oldest kidney transplant recipient

Walter Tauro says he didn’t even know what Guinness World Records were before he was recognized by the popular British corporation as the world’s oldest kidney transplant recipient earlier this month.

“I never heard of it,” the 88-year-old said with a laugh during a Sunday phone interview from his home in Markham, Ont.

But once he learned more about the organization that tracks human achievements and the extremes of the natural world, the retired realtor said he feels happy he was recognized.

“I am feeling good and I’m back to normal,” he said.

Tauro said he moved to Ontario from India in 1965 and ran a successful real estate company for many years with his wife and two kids before his retirement.
In 2020, he said doctors discovered he had kidney disease.

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His treatment involved mandatory trips to the hospital three times a week, for four hours at a time, to receive dialysis, a process in which doctors try to replicate the kidney’s function by removing excess water and toxins from the blood stream.

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“I got tired of going to the dialysis,” he said.

The onerous treatments eventually prompted him to request placement on a list for a kidney transplant.

“I didn’t hear (about it) for three years after that,” he said.

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Then one day, in June 2023, a doctor at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital notified Tauro a new kidney was available for transplant but warned he might not survive the procedure due to his age.

After multiple tests, however, a surgeon cleared him to receive a kidney from an anonymous donor.

“It is not the age of the patient that matters, it is their overall health,” Meriam Jayoma-Austria, a registered nurse with St. Michael’s Kidney Transplant program, said in a statement.

“Walter went through the program seamlessly, from his heart assessments to a bone marrow analysis.”

Moments before his surgery, Tauro said his family still worried for him and said their final goodbyes.

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He said he reassured them he would be fine.

“I said, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll be back tomorrow morning.’ I had confidence,” he said, adding he was a little scared but trusted his doctors.

Guinness World Records said on its website that “Walter was resolute in his decision to have the transplant as he no longer wanted to do dialysis every day.”

Six hours after his surgery, Tauro said he remembers waking up.

As he recovered at the hospital for a month, overcoming some minor infections, Tauro said a nurse suggested he reach out to Guinness because she suspected he might be the world’s oldest kidney transplant recipient.

Tauro said the nurse’s intuition was correct and Guinness verified his record earlier this month.

Now Tauro said he is feeling healthy and enjoying his life with his family and two grandkids.

He said the experience has taught him that everyone needs to take a chance once in a while.

“If you don’t take a chance, nothing ever happens.”

&© 2024 The Canadian Press

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