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Vincent's story
$21,263 Raised of $20,000 Goal

Vincent's Story

Vincent lived his life to the fullest. Even before his transplant, he lived on the edge, often saying “we know skateboarding /snowboarding /mountain biking /or whatever he felt an urge to conquer, isn’t going to be what kills me”. When he was 21, Vincent met the love of his life, Kathleen (Kat). She gave Vincent something to live for and soon, he asked her to marry him. Cystic Fibrosis was slowly robbing him of life, but Kat gave him a reason to keep fighting. Together, they embarked on the lifesaving journey of a double-lung transplant. That journey was full of challenges. First, we had to get Vincent into good enough physical shape to survive the transplant. He was already on oxygen 24 hours a day due to his dangerously low lung function. He also relentlessly accepted having a feeding tube inserted into his abdomen to provide the much-needed nutrition and calories via tube feedings every night.

One of the conditions required of all potential transplantees is having at least one support person available throughout the entire process, and if they lived outside of Edmonton, they would have to do their own fundraising to meet the financial burden of having to stay in Edmonton for extended periods of time. Since our family lived and worked outside of Edmonton, we decided to do whatever was needed in order to make a double lung transplant possible for Vincent. Vincent continued with his night feedings and worked hard to build up his physical strength. In March of 2005, the Transplant Team at the University of Alberta Hospital agreed that Vincent deserved to be put on the transplant list. On September 27th, 2005 at 1:00 in the morning, we got the call that a pair of lungs were available. Vincent was medivacked to the University Hospital in Edmonton, while the rest of us packed up our vehicles and headed for Edmonton to be by his side.

Vincent went into surgery at 8:30 that morning. At 4:30 p.m. we were advised that Vincent survived the surgery and was in recovery. He was then transferred to the ICU. On September 30th, Vincent’s 24th birthday, they removed the breathing tube, allowing him to take his first unaided breath. We’ve always considered that to be his second birth date. To this day, we celebrate every September 27th as “Vincent’s New Lung” Day. Once Vincent was discharged, he and Kat checked into a hotel, as they were required to stay in Edmonton for 90 days post-transplant for daily visits to the University Hospital. The rest of the family returned home and travelled back often to provide support.

The requirement to travel to Edmonton for post-transplant care did not end after his transplant. On several occasions, Vincent and Kat traveled to Edmonton for many hospital visits and admissions. Vincent became a source of hope and inspiration to other transplantees. He battled, as he lived, with every breath. He fought organ rejection and chronic infections that ravaged his new lungs. He continued to champion for others who were waiting for, and recovering from, double lung transplants.

As Vincent’s mother, I know first-hand the emotional and financial stress that accompanies a loved one needing a life-saving transplant. Vincent passed away on July 10, 2007, at the age of 25.


Gina Champagne

Lung disease can be costly for patients and caregivers. The Caring Breaths Financial Assistance Program was created and named by lung ambassadors who shared the financial impact their lung transplant journeys had. Caring Breaths is a reimbursement program designed to be complementary to other established financial assistance programs in the province of Saskatchewan. If you or your loved one has or is undergoing a lung transplant, or is living with a lung disease, some of your expenses may be reimbursed. The program is also available to SK residents who have undergone radon mitigation. Visit to learn more.

Lung Saskatchewan facilitates eight support groups coordinated by certified health professionals for patients and caregivers to ask questions, share their stories as well as provide emotional and moral support to each other. To join a support group, visit www.lungsask/support-groups.

Lung Sask Support Groups