I have been blessed in so many in my life. I have a great circle of supportive family and friends and a great medical team. I couldn’t really ask for more, but I’ve also been blessed with having a super supportive workplace. Even though I haven’t been to work in over 2 years, they haven’t forgotten about me. They heard about my campaign and wanted to help out. So they made me the employee they highlight on our intranet. Here is what was written:
Nearly two decades ago, second-year university student Nha Wong was diagnosed with both lupus and kidney disease—at the same time.
At a period in her life where her primary struggles should have been early-morning classes and student loans, Nha was in a fight for her health.
“I was really ill,” Nha recalls. “Until they were able to get everything somewhat under control with medication, I was very sick.”
Fast forward to 2017, and Nha was found face-to-face with a new obstacle—double amputation of her legs as a result of calcium build up in her arteries. “It clogged my micro vascular system so blood flow couldn’t get to my feet and they started dying,” she voices of the situation. “So they had to amputate.”
It’s now April, 2019, and the one known as Nacho by her closest friends and colleagues is back on the battlefront, in search of a kidney donor to replace the vital organs which failed her long ago.
While the weight of these struggles would crush the will of most people like an ant underfoot, Nha’s character and resilience not only remain strong, but are truly what legends are made of.
Two elements that keep her keepin’ on? Humour and positivity.
“I’m able to laugh or make light of anything and make it funny in almost any situation. Sometimes it happens at very inappropriate times, so I spend a lot of time apologizing as well,” she eludes, ending the statement with, “oops!”
She also notes, “My doctors always say my positive attitude has allowed me to survive this long, and I’m thankful for every day given. I’m a very positive, compassionate person and persevere through most hardships in
life with a smile on my face. I’m always able to find a positive, no matter the situation, and I love joking around so I can’t be taken too seriously.
More on Nha’s health later, as we want to spend some time introducing you to the individual who isn’t defined by her illness. “I want people to know I have lupus to help spread awareness, but don’t expect any pity or
According to Nha, she’s a native Calgarian who grew up punching buttons on a calculator, cataloguing birthday wish lists and playing cashier with her siblings, and knew she was destined to be a bean counter when she grew up.
She began her career in the health and safety field, distributing information packages to stakeholders. Jumping from group to group, assisting wherever a helping hand was needed, Nha landed with trucking. “One of my skillsets is that I type fast and accurate like the Tasmanian devil and back then, we needed to type the trucking tickets manually in the system,” she says, recounting her career continued to grow.
“I worked my way up as an accountant, becoming manager of an accounting team. I began a new role on a special projects team, but that’s when I became ill and was placed on disability, which brings us to today, where I hold no position,” she says with a laugh. However, getting back to work is high on her priority list. “Work isn’t just a paycheck to me; rather it’s doing something I love. I enjoy being an accountant and I enjoy being a manager.”
Nha goes on to share that she’s a social being and enjoys talking while working, and that’s exactly what she did, adding ”Being back would mean I’m healthy enough to work and I would be so grateful for that.”
Her social nature is reflected when you learn about her favourite hobbies. “I don’t have real hobbies like reading or crafting. I like spending time with those I love the most,” asking, “Can my dogs be considered a hobby?”
An additional pastime for Nha is managing her multiple social media accounts, including her @Nacho_Mouse Twitter handle, Find a Kidney for Nha Facebook page, NachoMouse Instagram site, and Mission Accessible YouTube channel.
When pressed about the name Nacho Mouse, Nha sets the story straight. “I was 15 when I came up with that handle. People called me Nacho because my name was Nha Chau (pronounces Chow). And at the time, I was obsessed with Mickey Mouse, so if Nacho married Mickey I’d be Nacho Mouse.”
For now, Nha is taking things one day at a time, focused on a campaign to help her find a kidney donor to save more of her limbs. “My left fingers have started to die and they are trying experimental treatments to help
blood flow to them to save my hand from amputation. A new kidney would help filter out the calcium and prevent more build up.”
A kidney donor for Nha is vital, as once the calcium builds up, there’s nothing that can be done to clear it out. “We just started with a Facebook page so we could spread awareness. Pattinson signs also made an 8×10 digital ad for me which should be in rotation around the city this week,” she details. “My blood has been really difficult to match because over the 20 years I’ve been ill, I’ve had various blood transfusions, which added antibodies to my blood, making it hard to find a match. It’s because of this that we decided to go public with an ask for help.”
In her case, a kidney wouldn’t just give her a new lease on life like others on the donor list, but it would also save her limbs. “Dialysis helps me live, but doesn’t clean my blood like a full time kidney.”
Despite everything she’s endured, Nha remains the most upbeat and positive person you will ever meet, and everyone is looking forward to having her back at work as soon as possible.
If you’d like to help out, or know someone else who might be able to, please visit Nha’s kidney campaign website. Don’t forget to share the link with your social networks and on your social media accounts. The more
people that see the site, the better chances Nha has in finding a suitable donor!