David Dennis, a former leader and activist for Indigenous rights in British Columbia is still awaiting a liver transplant.
Dennis from the Nuu-chu-nulth Nation on Vancouver Island says the B.C. Transplant Society has a policy that is essentially a lethal form of racism.
Three months ago, Dennis held a news conference to announce he was launching a human rights complaint against the transplant society and B.C. government.
It’s because of a six month alcohol abstinence policy before being put onto the transplant list and Dennis didn’t qualify.
After the story broke, the transplant society said there was a misunderstanding and they had removed that policy last May.
But according to Jason Gratl who is representing Dennis, that’s not true.
“David’s health records really show that the six month policy was in effect and it was in effect for May, in effect for June and July and for August – until August the fourth when they said that abstinence is no longer in effect,” says Gratl.
Despite going through numerous assessments and presenting his case to see if he can be put on the transplant list – he’s still not officially on the list and still needs to see three more specialists next week.
“There is no list until you go thru a pre-transplant screening process and that includes blood work, liver work MRI they take a look at your heart,” explains David
Time is ticking – Dennis was given just three to six months to live when he was first diagnosed with liver failure last April.
In August he moved into a hospice where he says his life expectancy has increased.
It’s a tranquil setting with lush gardens and overlooking the ocean in east Vancouver.
Dennis says it’s drastically improved his health and outlook.
The father of five children says he knows each day is a gift because others aren’t so lucky.
“I have my uncles ashes and he died from the same diagnosis that I did but he died in hospital and he was told at the same time that I was so there’s still cases that are out there like that,” says Dennis.
Recently there was a Celebration of Life for David, except what was unique about this celebration is that David is still alive to see his friends, family and community leaders who were there to show him their support.
Long-time friend Kelly L’hirondelle helped host the event and shared a heartfelt tribute to him.
“We’ve been bros for life and I’m honoured – thank you for changing my life,” said L’hirondelle
As he continues to wait for news about the transplant list – he says he going to keep fighting and enjoy each moment he has with his friends and family.