Delilah Saunders, a young Inuk woman from Labrador who has also been an advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is in a fight for her own life in Ottawa.
Family and friends say Saunders, 26, whose sister was Loretta Saunders, a university student who was murdered, is in need of a liver transplant.
“What the doctors are saying is that she’s very sick and that she’s needing an intervention that they’re not willing or at least from an organizational policy level, they’re not willing to give her,” said friend Kelly Morrissey.
“And that intervention would be a liver transplant.
Saunders is the younger sister of Loretta Saunders who was murdered in Halifax in 2014.
Since her murder, she has been a strong voice for murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls and was a member of the MMIWG family advisory circle.
Delilah was also a land and water protector.
Last year she participated in a hunger strike over the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in her home of Labrador.
Saunders was admitted to the hospital on Dec. 9.
“She was complaining of nausea,” said Morrissey. “She was definitely really sick at that time, but she was ambulatory, she was walking around, she was talking, obviously in a lot of distress, but we had no idea that it would, we would be at this point here today.”
Saunders has been diagnosed with acute liver failure due to the use of Tylenol in conjunction with alcohol consumption.
“She’s not eligible because of this policy where they do not give people with a history of substance abuse livers,” said friend Rebecca Moore. “Essentially they told us her livers failed she needs a new one and she’s not going to get it.”
Her friends are advocating for a liver transplant to save her life.
They have a petition demanding that Saunders be accepted as a liver transplant candidate.
“What we’re hoping for is to put pressure on Trillium Gift of Life Foundations that controls all the policies around organs donation here in Ontario,” said Moore. “And what we’re what we’re hoping for is we want them to waive the policy for Delilah and to accept her as a patient.”
The Gift of Life Network said its policy on six months abstinence from alcohol is a commonly used protocol.
The petition has 3,000 signatures on it according to Saunders’ friends.