Or­gan do­na­tion could be god­send for She­shat­shiu man

Philip Nuna has al­ready over­come numer­ous ob­sta­cles


Like most moth­ers, Rox­anne Rich of She­shat­shiu has many hopes and dreams for her son, Philip.

She’d like to see him pur­sue his own dream of one day be­com­ing a psy­chol­o­gist. Nuna knows what it’s like to live with an ad­dic­tion. His goal is to be­come a psy­chol­o­gist to oth­ers bat­tling sim­i­lar demons.

“I have been through a lot and I hear there are a lot of peo­ple try­ing to com­mit sui­cide and some al­ready have. I said to all my fam­ily I would just like to help out and talk to them be­fore they do some­thing bad to them­selves.”

But first …Rox­anne hopes hopes that one day her home will be wheel­chair ac­ces­si­ble for Philip. But, above all, she longs for her son to get a kid­ney trans­plant.

Twenty-one-year-old Philip Nuna was born with spina bi­fida. He uses a wheel­chair for mo­bil­ity. While things haven’t been easy for Nuna through the years, he stuck with school and earned his high school diploma.

“I had to do a cou­ple of cour­ses ex­tra but I did them,” he said dur­ing a re­cent phone in­ter­view.

Nuna said his mother has been his great­est sup­port for as long as he can re­mem­ber.

“When I was a kid, my mom told me to go out­side and make friends. And I did. And that’s how I be­came me, ac­tu­ally... My mom is very in­spir­ing. She helps me get through a lot.”

Nuna said he has faced and con­quered ad­dic­tions over the years. He no longer drinks or smokes, he said.

Nuna has been bat­tling kid­ney fail­ure for sev­eral years and has to travel to Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay three times a week for dial­y­sis. He man­ages to get into the van that picks him up for his dial­y­sis with­out much ef­fort, he said, as his uses his up­per body strength to his ad­van­tage.

Nuna lives – in a two-storey home - with his mother, sib­lings and other rel­a­tives. He finds it dif­fi­cult to do some things most peo­ple take for granted.

“The laun­dry is in the base­ment... I can’t even go down­stairs with­out crawl­ing,” he said.

“And the kitchen cab­i­nets are too high for me.”

While he lives life with many chal­lenges, Nuna sees his glass as half full rather than half empty.

He said he’s thank­ful for the sup­port he has and he likes to stay ac­tive in his com­mu­nity by so­cial­iz­ing with friends.

When it comes to his health, like his mother, Nuna also hopes that a suit­able kid­ney donor will be found sooner rather than later. Ac­cord­ing to East­ern Health’s Or­gan Do­na­tion Pro­gram, 95 per cent of Cana­di­ans sup­port the idea of or­gan and tis­sue do­na­tion. How­ever, less than half are reg­is­tered donors.

Nuna’s mother is also di­a­betic. Some of his rel­a­tives have been tested as pos­si­ble donors but were not suit­able.


Philip Nuna, 21, and his mother Rox­anne Rich.

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