This Natuashish man needs a new kidney. Now his brothers are stepping up in a big way

·2 min read
Simeon Poker, seen here with his wife, Ruby, is currently in St. John's waiting on a kidney transplant. His brother, Tommy, will soon begin a 700-kilometre run from Natuashish to Happy-Valley Goose Bay to raise money and awareness for him. (Simeon Ruby Poker/Facebook - image credit)
Simeon Poker, seen here with his wife, Ruby, is currently in St. John's waiting on a kidney transplant. His brother, Tommy, will soon begin a 700-kilometre run from Natuashish to Happy-Valley Goose Bay to raise money and awareness for him. (Simeon Ruby Poker/Facebook - image credit)
Simeon Ruby Poker/Facebook
Simeon Ruby Poker/Facebook

For Timmy, Tommy and Simeon Poker of Natuashish, Labrador, the bond between brothers will soon take on a whole new meaning.

Simeon is diabetic and has been in and out of hospital on kidney dialysis. When one of his kidneys failed and a transplant was needed, the search for a donor began.

"We were tested here in St. John's, and two of us matched," Tommy, now living in St. John's, told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning on Friday. "Myself and my brother Timmy."

Once the test results came back, the family decided Timmy would be the one to donate one of his kidneys. However, that doesn't mean Tommy isn't doing his own heavy lifting to help his brother out.

Beginning Aug. 9, Tommy will start a 700-kilometre run from Natuashish to Happy Valley-Goose Bay to raise money for the trip to Nova Scotia for the transplant.

He said he plans to run 50 kilometres per day, which would mean he completes the journey in two weeks. A fundraising goal of $30,000 has been set.

"When they go to Halifax, I think they'll be there for a while. They'll be needing the money, for sure," Tommy said. "I believe I can do it, raise the 30 grand.… I've been doing walks and runs here and at work almost every day."

Tommy isn't a stranger to long distances, completing an 86-kilometre walk from Hopedale to Natuashish in 2016.

Besides raising money, Tommy said he hopes the run will raise awareness of those affected by diabetes across the province.

"There's a lot of people back home that are dying from diabetes, which leads to dialysis. My brother is one of them, and I know others who didn't make it," he said.

"Simeon has been in and out of the hospital for quite some time.… They've been struggling to fundraise for themselves, so I'm doing this run for them."

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