A young boy is now home in Gananoque after receiving a life-saving heart transplant.
Lucas Tanswell spent over six months in hospital due to the procedure — and what makes it all the more incredible is that he just celebrated his first birthday.
When he left a few weeks ago, the youngster had spent nearly 170 days at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. Lucas was diagnosed soon after birth with a condition that affected his heart muscles.
Anne-Marie MacKenzie, Lucas’ mother, says his heart transplant took place on Jan. 29.
WATCH (Feb. 1, 2019): Gananoque family wait for a new heart for 10-month old baby
“We could see the heart beating in his chest, and his skin was pink and he was warm to the touch and then 72 hours
post-transplant — open heart surgery — he’s sitting up and smiling,” MacKenzie said. “We thought we had a happy boy before, and now I think we realize just how sick he was.”
Milton Tanswell, Lucas’ father, says he, too, would never believe that just two months ago, his son was critically ill and on life support. Both parents are thanking family and friends as well as the Ronald McDonald House and SickKids and, of course, the donor.
Tanswell says it’s been a real roller-coaster ride.
“For us, we got the ultimate victory, and he is the poster child for successful transplant,” he said. “There’s the flip side of that coin, too, right? There’s the family who lost everything and, luckily, they gave life through that as well.”
WATCH (Feb. 14, 2019): Family of 10-month-old shares story of infant’s heart transplant
The parents say they now want to speak out on the importance of organ donation. MacKenzie says she and Tanswell weren’t aware that you can’t register to be an organ donor in the province of Ontario until you’re 16. In future, she says, they’ll be advocates for organ donations for everybody and will urge others to speak to their families about organ donation because until there is a legislative change, MacKenzie says, a person’s family has to know their wishes.