If Kris Reyes is forced to return home to the Philippines his employer says he would only be able to pay for about six months of health care necessary to keep him alive. (GoFundMe)

Penticton man fights to stay in Canada, keep life-saving health care

If Kris Reyes is denied permanent residency, the cost of his dialysis would run too high to keep up

A Penticton man’s battle with kidney failure could put him in a dire situation at the end of his Canadian working visa in 2019, according to his employer.

Kris Reyes was diagnosed with kidney failure five years ago, three years after he moved to Canada, and when he applied for permanent residency, he was declined due to the cost of his illness on the health care system.

But if he moves back to the Philippines, his boss, Nicole MacMillan of the South Okanagan Tim Hortons, said he cannot afford the costly care in his home country.

“It’s so sad to see. If he goes home, he will die, because in the Philippines it’s going to cost him 10s of thousands of dollars to be able to do what B.C. med can provide,” MacMillan said.

“If he goes home, he’ll only have enough money for about six months, and then once the money’s gone, the money’s gone unfortunately. And he will die if he has to stop that. It sounds so awful, I hate saying that, but that’s kind of what our push is, here.”

Related: Crowd funding campaign set up for family hit by tragedy

Most of Reyes’ family is in Canada at this point, including his wife, but his children are still living with his wife’s mother back in the Philippines, but would be able to come to Canada if Reyes gets permanent residency status.

“His kids are now eight and nine. He’s never even gotten to meet the youngest one, because when he left to come here they didn’t know Jocelyn (his wife) was pregnant with their second,” MacMillan said. “So he’s never met his little baby, and these guys are like family to us.”

Despite the burdensome health care Reyes has undergone, MacMillan said he hasn’t missed a beat at work.

“He’s already done over 15 surgeries, actually, since he’s been here. He still manages to work for me 40 hours all the time,” MacMillan said.

“I always say ‘take time off,’ and he is such a hard worker. He just had a surgery two weeks ago, and he said four days later ‘I can come back,’ because he needs the money, obviously, to work for his medical expense.”

Reyes also does three days of dialysis per week at the hospital, as well as every night while he sleeps at home.

MacMillan said she has been trying to help Reyes reapply for his permanent residency under humanitarian and compassionate considerations from Immigration Canada.

Related: GoFundMe set up for optimistic Princeton woman

“He’s on the top of the list for a kidney here, but they will not release his name officially onto that list until he becomes PR (permanent resident), so it’s kind of a catch-22,” MacMillan said. “Because he’s been on the waiting list for five years, the doctors and the nurses, we have letters from them that we’ve tried to send all the way up to Justin Trudeau.”

But those letters haven’t garnered a response, MacMillan said, and the cost of lawyers keeps going up for the family, who is going through Mercan Group to fight for PR status.

A representative from Mercan acknowledged Reyes is working with the law firm, and they hope to be putting in their application soon.

According to the representative, the humanitarian and compassionate considerations can only be applied for after permanent residency has already been declined, adding she expects Reyes’ claim to be a large one.

The Mercan employee declined to delve into Reyes’ case, but said the humanitarian and compassionate considerations apply to someone who would be in danger if they left the country.

If Reyes does not gain permanent residency status, MacMillan said his current working visa will run up in 2019, and he will have to return to the Philippines.

Because of the hefty cost of lawyers, MacMillan has set up a GoFundMe campaign for Reyes, with a goal of raising $50,000. So far, that campaign has garnered about $2,000 from 36 people, ranging from $5 donations to a $250 donation.

“This GoFundMe campaign is basically to help Kris and Jocelyn with all their lawyer fees and their medical expenses in the meantime,” she said. “I can’t even send him home for a visit. I tried to look into that, because I’m like ‘just let them see their babies for a few weeks, anything would help.’

“But unfortunately Kris can’t even go home because it will cost me thousands and thousands of dollars to just get him on hemodialysis for those three weeks, and flying would be so long we would need to buy the machine for him to take with him, which was extremely costly.”


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna properties flooded along Heimlich Road

Flooding started on Spiers Road Tuesday and continued into properties, said an area resident

Wanted man nabbed after flipping car in Kelowna

A wanted man is now facing charges

Dangerous driver stopped by spike belt in Lake Country

The driver was arrested in Lake Country after fleeing the scene in Kelowna

Cops cuff good guys for great cause

Kelowna RCMP arrested members of the public as part of their annual Cops for Kids fundraiser.

Bladder dam being installed in West Kelowna

The city is installing a bladder dam on the west side of Gellatly Road

Rockets to bid on 2020 Memorial Cup

Kelowna’s WHL team vies to host annual four-team national junior championship

B.C. First Nations get clarity on fishing rights from top court

Nations call federal government to settle fishing rights ‘within the true meaning of reconciliation’

Complaint filed against B.C. naturopath who treated boy with rabid dog saliva

BC Naturopathic Association questions Dr. Anke Zimmermann’s conduct on recent treatments

Judge to give decision Friday in Gabriel Klein ‘fitness’ hearing

Man accused in Abbotsford school stabbing could have trial delayed due to mental-health issues

Province steps up to help Catalyst Paper in war against U.S. duties

Paper company hit with more than 28 per cent in American tariffs

Update: Police chief calls constable a fallen hero during public funeral

Late Victoria cop mourned by officers from numerous local, out-of-town jurisdictions

Government has no solution for dangerous stretch of Highway 1

Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok met with the Ministry to talk about the dangers around Highway 1

B.C. couple caught in Kootenay Pass avalanche

Just after the ministry carried out avalanche control and opened the highway a Rossland couple was almost swept away by snow

Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with U.S. government

Disgraced cyclist reached $5-million settlement with sponsor U.S. Postal Service

Most Read