THE memory of his late friend and former Fiji Times journalist Stan Ritova is what keeps Kidney Foundation of Fiji president Dewan Maharaj committed to the cause of treatment for kidney diseases.
Mr Maharaj, who lists Stan as one of his closest friends, said after Mr Ritova was diagnosed with kidney failure, he realised how much work needed to be done in Fiji to treat the disease.
"The doctors examined him at the hospital and told him that he had only 36 to 48 hours to live," said Mr Maharaj.
"Fortunately with his son, we were able to get him airlifted out to St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne where after treatment, he was able to live on for another seven and a half years," he said.
Mr Maharaj explained it was then that he and a group of like-minded friends decided to get together to start up the Kidney Foundation of Fiji and work to make treatment available in the country.
"I spoke to Stan when he was still in hospital and he said that we really needed to get moving to offer treatment for kidney disease locally," he said.
"And even though we did not come from medical backgrounds, we managed to succeed," he added.
Mr Maharaj said in their attempts, he and secretary of the foundation Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau travelled to Singapore to undertake courses on setting up dialysis centres.
Now the journey to improve treatment of kidney disease has come full circle.
After setting up the initial foundation dialysis centre in 2008 ù with the assistance of the Indian government ù the foundation will be opening its second centre next month, a feat Mr Dewan believes the late Stan Ritova will be proud of.