10 February, 2014 10 February, 2014

Chris Humbled By Fellow Surfers After Plea For New Kidney Gets Answered

A Morgan Bay surfer’s heart wrenching plea to find a kidney donor so he can keep surfing has struck a chord with complete strangers.

A humbled Chris Bogers, 53, said he still could not believe a 16 year-old grom had emailed him last week and offered to undergo tests to see if his kidney was compatible.

“I was on my knees crying rivers of tears after I read the email,” he explained.

“It was a Christ like action, something that Buddha or Ghandi would have done.”

After months of agonising over whether to write Zag a letter highlighting his plight and how it impacted his lifelong passion for surfing, Chris took the plunge and put pen to paper – and the response was almost instantaneous.

Within hours of the latest issue (38.2) hitting the shelf, a teenager offered to take the test and by the next day a 46 year-old surfing journalist, a 53 year-old woman and a 19 year-old male had also responded.

“Even if none of them are a match, I want to meet these people, give them a hug, say ‘howzit’ and look into their eyes and thank them because I never expected this kind of response when I wrote the letter.”

Although the response makes the Morgan Bay local feel like he has already “won the Lotto” several times over, the reality is that there is no guarantee any of the potential donors will actually be a match.

Chris Bogers hanging out at his Morgan Bay home with his trusty sidekick.

Already, 13 friends and family members have offered him one of their kidneys without success and chances are slim any three of the latest potential donors will be a match.

“One of the best potential donors is close family, but she cannot do it. She is terrified and I understand that.”

Chris is busy putting himself on the list for a cadaver kidney – from a dead person – but because of a reluctance by South Africans to become organ donors, it can take up to five years before one is available.

In his letter, the veteran surfer explained how he had spent more than 40 years surfing and diving as much as he could – only to be told six months ago he would have to stop.

“I need a kidney if I am to be well again, If I am to surf again, If I want to dive or go walking down the coast again.”

Chris, who still tries to catch a few waves despite undergoing two days of intensive dialysis treatment in East London every week said he had spent thousands of hours mulling the idea of writing his letter to Zag – before he put pen to paper.

“It is a massive thing for any human to do, and even more so if one donates to someone that one does not even know.”

“This would be a gift of love, almost the ultimate gift of love and compassion from a surfer with two kidneys to a fellow surfer who has none.”

Although not rolling in cash, Chris – who grows and sells organic food and preserves with his wife Linda at their Muddhutters business – said besides paying transport and medical costs for the Cape Town transplant, he would also cover one month’s salary to the donor for missing work.

“This is not a monetary exchange. If I had more cash I would gladly give it…I don’t.”

The best transplant candidates must be from either the A or O blood groups, not have high blood pressure or diabetes, be cancer-free and HIV negative.

“I still surf a little bit, but I get very tired.”


This story first appeared in the Daily Dispatch and was written by senior reporter, David Macgregor, a Port Alfred local.

If your blood group is A or O, and would like to bless Chris with a kidney, you can contact him on themudhutters@gmail.com

Below is Chris’s letter as it appears in the latest issue.



I started surfing at the age of 13, and have surfed all my life, every chance that I could ever get, up until June this year. 40 years of stoke in total. But I was not feeling well for the past two years or so, with no idea why. It turns out that my kidneys were in very bad shape. I was diagnosed with Stage 5 kidney failure in early July last year.

Imagine the feeling when the guys in white coats tell you: “You can forget about surfing now, sonny, and you can forget about diving, too. Your only option for survival, medium to long term, is a kidney transplant.”
I am now 53 years of age, and I am more stoked than ever before (well, until my kidneys failed, that is…)

In the last few months, my wife often just puts me into the car and drives me to our local surf spot and leaves me there to eat a picnic lunch and enjoy myself just watching the waves. The stoke keeps me going.

I have dialysis twice weekly now, in order to stay alive. I need a kidney if I am to be well again. If I am to surf again. If I want to dive or go walking along the coast again. Or make love with my wife again (without worrying that I will have a heart attack halfway through the proceedings…)

I need a kidney, preferably from a live donor.

My close family and friends offered me 13 kidneys in total, but all of these were rejected mainly due to the offers coming from those with blood groups that were not compatible with mine.

I am in the process of getting my name put onto the list for a cadaver kidney, but the nursing staff tell me that many people die while waiting for a kidney, due to the fact that there are so few donors.

I have spent thousands of hours mulling over this all, and I am fully aware of the magnitude of my request, and exactly what being a living donor entails. It is a massive thing for any human to do, and even more so if one donates to someone that one does not even know. This would be a gift of love. Almost the ultimate gift of love and compassion from a surfer with two kidneys to a fellow surfer who has none.

We would be able to cover the donor’s medical costs, transport to Cape Town, (return) and one month’s salary. This is not a monetary exchange. If I had more cash, I would gladly give it. I don’t.
You can contact me for further details (and there are lots) should you want to find out more.

Thank you, and stay stoked.
Chris Bogers, Morgan Bay
E-Mail: themudhutters@gmail.com


  1. david macgregor
    10 February, 2014 at 11:36 am · Reply

    Nice one ZigZag, I do however think Chris’s heartfelt letter must be the beginning of bigger things to come in regards to organ donation. We need to stand together as surfers and commit to donating our organs when we die so others can live. Pay it forward, make a difference… Thanks for inspiring me Chris Bogers – hope to share the waves with you when you find the right donor…

    • Lee-sa Harmse
      11 February, 2014 at 9:25 am · Reply

      i agree David, we should all be donors so that another may continue to surf when we are gone. Its also sooooo simple and easy to become an organ donor in SA https://www.odf.org.za/

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