A Vancouver peewee hockey coach battling a rare kidney disease has finally found a donor.
Stephen Gillis was overcome with emotion after an old friend confirmed he was donating his kidney to the coach.
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Gillis made national headlines earlier this year when the Vancouver peewee hockey team he coaches launched a viral video campaign to help Gillis find a kidney.
A video posted to social media on Sunday shows Gillis in a hospital bed as his friend, Michael Teigen, tells him the good news.
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“He’s the match,” says a voice off-camera.
“I’m it; I’m the one,” Teigen says.
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“What?” Gillis says in disbelief. “F**k off. For real?”
Gillis says he’s hoping to have the surgery in the next few months and he plans on returning to the ice in September.
Gillis has suffered from Crohn’s disease since the age of 25 but led a very active lifestyle until last summer, when he said he started “feeling a bit weird” and doctors gave him a troubling diagnosis.
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Since then, Gillis has required dialysis to clean his blood and also underwent major surgery to have his diseased colon removed. It was during his recovery from that surgery that he received the visit from Teigen and learned of the upcoming donation.
Gillis says he wanted to make the announcement on Green Shirt Day, an event created by the parents of the late Humboldt Broncos player Logan Boulet, whose donated organs saved six other lives.
—With files from the Canadian Press