THEY share the same parents. And now they share the same kidney.
Siblings Kitione Raibevu and Inoke Koroi of Delaivalelevu in Suva are now recovering at Batra Hospital in New Delhi, India after a successful kidney transplant last week.
The 48-year-old soldier from Levukana in Vanuabalavu will always be indebted to his younger brother Mr Koroi who will turn 45 next month for his extraordinary gift — his left kidney.
Mr Koroi, in a true act of love donated his kidney to replace Mr Raibevu's right kidney after a nephrectomy — a surgical procedure for the removal of a kidney.
"I'm grateful to my brother for his generosity. I know I will not be able to repay him for what he has done for me," Mr Raibevu said from his hospital bed in Batra.
"No amount of money or wealth will be able to match what my younger brother did for me," he said.
Mr Koroi said when his elder brother approached him, he did not hesitate.
"I did not think twice about it."
Mr Koroi's life was put on hold, sacrificed his casual security guard job and focused on coming to India.
The father of seven children — his eldest daughter in form six and his youngest three-months old — said he was not afraid of the surgery.
Weighing at 160 kilograms, everyone doubted that Mr Koroi would be a donor. But deep inside, he was praying that he wanted his brother healed, no matter what it took.
"I'm very happy that I'm able to help him when he needed it most.
"Even the doctors and the medical panel here who interviewed me before the surgery asked if I was aware of what would be done to me and if I was ready to donate my kidney.
"They even reminded me that I had seven kids and if something went wrong, who would look after them.
"I told them that I'm here to help my brother and I'm ready to do what ever it takes for him to get better," he said.
Mr Raibevu only realised that something was wrong with him during his tour on duty in the Middle East about one and half years ago.
"I was sent back home and I was told that I had heart problems," he said.
But further examinations showed that he had kidney failure. He's been going for dialysis in Suva but was told that he had no option. If he wanted to live longer, he needed a kidney transplant.
That's when Mr Raibevu started looking within his family for a possible donor -someone who has the same O+ blood group.
"When I realised that my brother was a match, I requested him if he could help me and he agreed instantly.
"I don't know what would have happened to me if it wasn't for my brother," he said.
"I owe my life to him."
After the surgery, Mr Koroi said he could not believe that a part of him was removed and was now inside his brother.
"Except for the bandage on that spot which was opened, I don't feel anything different," he said. The two brothers are both stable and are recovering in New Delhi.
And they cannot wait to be reunited with their families back home.