Canada

'It was a gift:' Riverview man receives kidney donation after 3-year wait

'It was a gift:' Riverview man receives kidney donation after 3-year wait

A Riverview man who put an ad on his car looking for a kidney donor has a new lease on life.

Dan McLaughlin’s plea for a kidney went unanswered for three years. But three weeks ago on Friday, he and his wife got the life changing call.

“It is still hard to believe that it happened,” said 60-year-old McLaughlin.

“It’s like a rebirth,” said Pat McLaughlin, his wife of 38 years.

Almost three weeks ago, McLauglin said a match was made with someone who had passed away and he rushed to Halifax for the transplant surgery.

He said when he woke up, “colours were brighter, somehow it was easier to breathe, the air was fresher and a day later I walked almost a kilometer which I couldn’t do before.”

McLaughlin said the new kidney is functioning well and the rush of gratitude he and his wife are now feeling toward the donor and his or her family is at times overwhelming and conflicting.  They both feel grief for the family and gratitude for their selflessness.

“We are going to take care of the organ they have given us. It was a gift, it was like winning the lottery,” said Pat.

“The donor obviously would have signed an organ donor card,” said McLaughlin. “The family could have overridden that and did not and I truly appreciate this second chance on life.”

“We are doing stuff we haven’t been able to do in three years,” said his wife who added that their lives were on hold prior to the transplant since Dan was on dialysis every day.

“If he was going to be on the machine I wasn’t going to go out and live my life. My life was with Dan.”

WATCH: Kelowna woman devastated after kidney transplant surgery cancelled (April 2016) 

Since the transplant, she said they feel like newlyweds.

“It’s like being on a honeymoon again,” pat said.

They are now enjoying romantic evenings on their porch, talking about one day having grand kids and teasing each other.

“A few days after I said I feel like I am 20 and Pat said don’t look in the mirror,” said McLaughlin.

He said the ad he placed on his car last year advertising for a donor will be removed.  But he will continue to advocate until every province in Canada adopts Nova Scotia’s organ donation program.

“A number of provinces are looking at Nova Scotia’s approach and thinking that is the good approach to take.”

Pat also plans to becomes a donor herself once her husband is on his feet. She says it’s the least she can do since, “I got my man back”.