Friday , Aug , 22 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Further evidence Phoenix’s Steve Nash is more than an NBA star

Not surprisingly, this isn’t Kid Canada’s only off-court assist. The Globe and Mail’s David Hutton reports that Nash is urging the Ontario government to continue funding drug treatment for high school pal Simon Ibell, who suffers from Hunter syndrome, an enzyme disorder that affects a small number of Canadians each year …

Further evidence Phoenix's Steve Nash is more than an NBA starSteve Nash keeps making headlines for the right reasons. In June, he joined a group of businessmen trying to bring an MLS expansion team to Vancouver, Canada. In typical Nash fashion, the plan is to eventually make the MLS squad a charitable organization with a share of profits supporting youth soccer.      

Not surprisingly, this isn’t Kid Canada’s only off-court assist. The Globe and Mail’s David Hutton reports that Nash is urging the Ontario government to continue funding drug treatment for high school pal Simon Ibell, who suffers from Hunter syndrome, an enzyme disorder that affects a small number of Canadians each year. Ibell’s disorder can be treated through the drug Elaprase, which is covered by provincial health programs in Alberta and British Columbia. However, Ontario does not cover the drug, even though it’s recognized by Health Canada.

"To date, four people have been funded to receive the treatment in Canada. Although Elaprase is not a cure for Hunter syndrome, a progressive disease, it has been shown to improve some outcomes in patients, such as lengthening walking distance.

At a cost of about $400,000 a year, the intravenous medicine is unaffordable for most patients without government funding. Mr. Ibell, who lives in Toronto, receives the drug on a trial basis, but he says that will run out soon.

"This is how universal health care is supposed to work," Mr. Ibell said in an interview. "Once the trial is up, the plug gets pulled unless the government steps up." (The Globe and Mail, David Hutton)


Ibell and I attended the University of Victoria at the same time. I didn’t know him personally (the college days are, well, foggy), but do remember his energy managing the school’s always-competitive basketball team.

Ibell seemed like a good guy then. And clearly remains a giving person, working as a fundraiser for the Right To Play organization. His situation shows universal health care is unfortunately subjective –even when the patient needs, and deserves, coverage.

Click here to sign the Steve Nash led petition for Ibell to receive continued funding and click here to learn about Hunter syndrome. Photo courtesy of skewb.