After living with cystic fibrosis his entire life, Nick Kanaan required a double-lung transplant. Today, he honours Dr. John Yee and the medical team at VGH who helped save his life.

After living with cystic fibrosis his entire life, Nick Kanaan required a double-lung transplant. Today, he honours Dr. John Yee and the medical team at VGH who helped save his life.

Double-lung transplant saves father after lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis

This holiday season Angel donations will help fund the most urgent health care needs

Before Nick Kanaan was even born, tests from his mother’s amniotic fluid determined Nick had cystic fibrosis, an inherited disorder that had already claimed two of his sisters’ lives, and would leave Nick fighting for his own life in 2019.

Throughout the years Nick managed the disease with daily medications. Then in October 2017, Nick started having difficulty breathing and was hospitalized for two and a half months. Although he would eventually be discharged and in stable condition, Nick’s lungs would never fully recover.

Gasping for air

Fast-forward. January 2019. After more than a year of regular check-ups, tests have determined Nick’s lungs are steadily declining, and he is desperately in need of a lung transplant.

Nick would keep taking his daily medications, hoping to find a match before his lungs got worse.

But before long, Nick caught a lung infection. He would spend several nights coughing up blood at home before being hospitalized.

Time was slipping away. And so Nick was transferred to Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) — the only hospital in B.C. able to perform a special surgery that would buy him vital time.

A life-saving bridge to surgery

At VGH, Nick was placed on ECMO, a portable, donor-funded, heart-lung machine that oxygenates the blood and reinfuses it into the body, essentially taking over the role of breathing and allowing Nick’s lungs to rest.

The procedure was a success, buying precious time while Nick waited for a lung donor.

Three and a half weeks later a match was found.

Dr. John Yee of VGH performed the double-lung transplant. Nick awoke two days later, breathing on his own with a new set of lungs.

Going home

Following his surgery, Nick’s recovery was guided by teams of medical experts at VGH.

“Recovery after the transplant was one of the – if not the – most challenging parts of this journey,” says Nick. “I essentially had to learn how to move every part of my body, I had to learn how to breathe, I had to learn how to eat, I had to learn how to stand, sit, walk. This was painful and exhausting in every way.”

Today, Nick is nearly back to living his normal life. He still has to take it slow and he can’t lift heavy objects, but he can safely chase his nearly three-year-old daughter, Ameera, around the house.

“For the first time in my life I laid on Nick’s chest and I listened to him take in these deep, wonderful breaths,” says his wife Lindsay. “I can’t describe that feeling.”

Honour your Angel

We all have Angels in our lives. Join Nick in honouring your Angel this holiday season.

Your donation will help fund the most urgent needs of our health care system, providing the best and most specialized health care for you and your loved ones when you need it most.

Learn more at vghfoundation.ca/angel-campaign.

CommunityHealth and wellnessPhilanthropy

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Mark Strahl, MP for Chilliwack-Hope, delivered a statement in the hybrid sitting of the House of Commons on March 23, 2021, calling on the Liberal government to present a plan for when COVID-19 restrictions can be safely eased. (Screenshot/ Mark Strahl)
Chilliwack Hope MP Strahl says federal budget doesn’t reflect needs of Canadians

MP says budget illustrates that Liberals don’t have a plan to recover from COVID-19 losses

The spooky scarecrow of the Valley Huskers takes on the logo of the Regina Thunder in a national social media contest produced by Football Canada.
Huskers logo needs your online vote in semi-final round of Football Canada contest

The scarecrow has 2 more foes to vanquish to be named the best amateur football logo in the country

Kosumi Street in the Sardis neighbourhood of Chilliwack was opened to traffic on April 14, 2021. (City of Chilliwack)
New connector road in Sardis opened to traffic

Kosumi Street was named to honour roots of Japanese-Canadian family that settled in Chilliwack

Rene Cortin/Wikimedia commons
Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society pilot program promotes garden growing

Twenty Chilliwack families are participating in the ‘Garden Box to the Table’ program

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Most Read