VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs is asking for the public’s help to stay alive.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says in an open letter his kidneys are failing and the best chance he has of staying alive is if he receives a donation from a living donor.
Phillip suffers from chronic kidney disease.
“Unfortunately, it has gotten worse over time,” he writes.
Regular dialysis treatments, which he says will help his kidney’s “do their job,” or a transplant are his only options right now.
Dialysis needs to be done three times a week with appointments lasting four hours, he adds.
“A transplant would offer me a longer, healthier, more normal life, one where I can continue to do the work I have done for decades,” Phillip says.
Continuing his life-long work as an advocate for Indigenous Title and Rights and the environment is part of the reason behind his plea, he says, as well as doing what he loves most, “like spending time with my wonderful wife Joan, our five children and fifteen grandchildren, and being out on our territory.”
The waitlist for a donor is long, and Phillip hopes to find one soon.
“Asking my family, friends and supporters to consider donating a kidney to me is difficult, but it greatly improves my chances,” he explains.
A donor would need to match his blood type, which is A+.
For 15 years, Phillip was the chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, and a member of the Penticton Indian Band. He was also chief and council for that band for two decades, and a Band Chief for 14 of those years.
Last year, Phillip received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the UBC in recognition of his life-long advocacy and work.
He is currently in his eighth consecutive three-year term as president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
For more information, or if someone is interested in becoming a donor, visit BC Transplant.