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

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Vehicles line up for the Greater Vancouver Drive-Thru Food Truck Festival at the Chilliwack Coliseum parking lot on March 27. The touring event comes to Cloverdale this weekend, April 24-25 (Photo: Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress)
Here are the food trucks coming to Cloverdale for a drive-thru festival this weekend

Nine trucks will be parked Saturday, nine Sunday during event at fairgrounds

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Parts of Surrey, North Delta to get AstraZeneca vaccines for people ages 40+

A total of seven communities in Surrey and Delta will be targeted

Delta police were called to a possible stabbing in the 8100-block of Scott Road at around 6 p.m. on Sunday afternoon (April 18, 2021). (Shane MacKichan photo)
Two arrested after man stabbed in North Delta parking lot

The incident took place in the 8100-block of Scott Road at around 5:15 p.m. on Sunday, April 18

The Braidwood Band performs for the seniors at Zion Park Manor in Surrey, as part of a music program planned by Rick’s Heart Foundation. (submitted photo)
VIDEO: Surrey charity brings distanced concerts to care homes, with prop pink firetruck

Familiar tunes performed for seniors during pandemic-era ‘Heart for Music’ program

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

The Abbotsford Centre has the ability to host AHL level games if the Vancouver Canucks or any other NHL team chose to move its affiliate to the arena. (File photo)
Abbotsford Centre ready for AHL if right opportunity presents itself

Building recently upgraded glass and boards, schedule would allow for AHL tenant

A defeat Sunday in Kamloops tied up the Giants and Blazers for the most wins this season. Each team has notched seven victories in the B.C. division play unfolding this season on ice in Kamloops and Kelowna. (Allen Douglas/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Giants record fifth shutout of the season

Vancouver G-Men take down Kamloops Blazers on home ice Sunday, 4-0

Most Read