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

Current unmarked residential streets are 50 km/h, but Greater Vancouver municipalities might consider dropping that to 30 km/h. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Sidney join Saanich in application to reduce residential road speeds to 30 km/h

Victoria also taking part in pilot to change default speed to 30 km/h from 50 km/h

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply as overdose emergency turns 5

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Black Press Media file photo)
Privacy concerns keep COVID-19 cases at University of Victoria off the record

Island Health, UVic not sharing specifics after internal notice confirms coronavirus case

A man with a history of sexual offences was arrested after he followed and aggressively tried to talk to two young woman on the weekend. Black Press File Photo
Man convicted of sexual offences arrested after teens followed in Victoria

Women hid in a Quadra Village convenience store as man aggressively tried to get in

A few dozen students and parents gathered outside Lansdowne Middle School April 14 to protest proposed budget cuts to SD61 music programs. From left to right: Lyra Gaudin, Cleo Bateman, Abby Farish, Brigitte Peters, Enid Gaudin, Des Farish. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
SD61’s proposed $7 million cuts threaten equity and inclusion, say parents, teachers

Music classes, inclusion services, reading programs on the line

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

One of the grand prizes for this year's Hometown Heroes Lottery includes a seaside home at SookePoint, $1.5 million, and an Audi Quattro. (Photo courtesy of Hometown Heroes)
Hometown Heroes Lottery features seaside home in Sooke

A stunning seaside home in Sooke could be yours for the price… Continue reading

(Amandalina Letterio - Capital News)
Kelowna demonstrators show support for Vancouver Island logging activists

Two Kelowna men stood atop a pedestrian bridge on Harvey Avenue to raise awareness about old-growth forests

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num street signs installed in downtown Duncan

Partnership with Cowichan Tribes sees English street names twinned with Indigenous language

Most Read