Youth at center of smudging controversy fighting for his life

Tim Fontaine
APTN National News
A young man who fought for the right to smudge before going to high school each morning is now fighting for his life in a Toronto hospital, his family says.

Stephen Bunn is suffering from a mysterious illness that is causing his liver to fail, according to Bunn’s mother Sandy Louise.

“He is waiting to find a liver transplant as soon as possible,” Louise said. “The doctors are not sure what caused his liver to fail but it’s serious.”

Louise says just days ago Bunn complained of aches and a cough. He was admitted to a hospital where he lives in Brandon, Manitoba but was quickly transferred to Winnipeg before being flown to Toronto.

“Each time we were told his liver was getting worse and then starting to fail,” she said.

Bunn – who turned 18 just this August – attended Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School in Brandon. In November 2013, he was at the center of a controversy when he was told by school officials not to smudge before attending classes as they worried it smelled like drugs. After he and his family complained to the school division, an Elder was called in to help mediate a solution where Bunn could still smudge.

Sandy Louise is with her son in Toronto. She says the family is praying her son can get a liver transplant soon.


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