Okanagan Nation Alliance Grand Chief appeals to public for kidney donation | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan Nation Alliance Grand Chief appeals to public for kidney donation

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip is seen here during a protest against Kinder Morgan Canada on Burnaby Mountain in 2014.
Image Credit: TWITTER/Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs

The Okanagan Nation Alliance's Grand Chief is appealing to the public for a kidney donation.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has chronic kidney disease, which has gotten worse over time, he said in a press release.

"My kidneys no longer work well enough to keep me alive and continue my lifelong work and passion to advocate for Indigenous Title and Rights and the environment, and to do the things I enjoy most, like spending time with my wonderful wife Joan, our five children and fifteen grandchildren, and being out on our territory. My treatment options are limited to dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant, which is why I am reaching out publicly now," he said in the news release.

Phillip has been the chair of the alliance for 15 years and has been a part of the Penticton Indian Band's council for 24 years, 14 of which he was band chief, according to the release.

READ MORE: Syilx Okanagan Nation supports Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs

"Getting regular dialysis treatments, usually three times a week for four hours at a time, will help my kidneys do their job and keep me alive, but a transplant would offer me more freedom and the ability to live a longer, healthier, more normal life," he said, adding the challenge has been finding a living donor.

Phillip outlined some information about kidney donation:

• You only need one kidney to live a healthy, long life.
• Most donor surgery is done laparoscopically, meaning through tiny incisions.
• The recuperation period is usually fairly quick, generally two weeks.
• The cost of your evaluation and surgery will be covered by my insurance. The hospital can give you extensive information on this.
• You will have a separate team of healthcare professionals to evaluate you as a living donor. Their job is to help you understand the risks and benefits and look out for your best interests.

B.C. Transplant oversees all aspects of organ donation and transplant across BC and manages the BC Organ Donor Registry. Visit the BC Transplant website for more information on becoming a living kidney donor. You can reach out directly to the Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program (Kidney) by calling 604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182, or emailing kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

You can also consider being an organ donar after death.

"At the very least I want to bring awareness to kidney disease and living donation. I am hopeful my efforts will help me receive a kidney sooner and encourage others to consider helping the many people on the wait list," Phillip said in the release. Further questions can be sent  to kidneyforGCSP@gmail.com.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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