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Glace Bay native gets gift of life from kidney donor thanks to his peewee hockey team
A Cape Breton native living in B.C. who needed a kidney appears to have found one.
Stephen Gillis Jr.’s heartfelt plea was shared in a viral video by the minor hockey team he coaches.
Gillis got the life-saving gift from an old friend, Michael Teigen.
"I'm very lucky,” said Stephen Gillis Jr. “I'm so grateful.”
It all started with a YouTube video in January when Stephen's plea for a new kidney went viral in a video created and shared by the Vancouver peewee team he coaches.
“Coach Stephen needs a kidney,” the players say using a series of signs in the video. “If he doesn't find one, then he might not be able to coach.”
Stephen Gillis Sr. lives in Glace Bay and was elated when he got the good news.
It's been a rollercoaster of emotions for Stephen's dad, especially in recent weeks, when his son's health took a turn, and he had to have his colon removed.
“Yeah, I almost died,” said Stephen Gillis Jr. “They weren't really sure what was going to happen.”
Gillis Sr. credits the outpouring of support from across the country for his son finding his match and e says it made it easier for him to be home in Glace Bay, so far away from him.
“This young gentleman that's doing this for my boy ... I really appreciate it,” said Gillis Sr.
The transplant is still a few months away and when it happens, Stephen's dad says he'll be there.
“I'm so proud of him, it's unreal,” said Stephen Gillis Sr. “I don't have the words to explain it.”
Gillis Jr. promises to pay it forward.
“All this attention has been a gift and I only want to use it to help others,” he said.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.