A B.C. hockey coach received a kidney transplant. He used his first steps after surgery to visit his donor.
Kidney recipient Stephen Gillis, left, poses with donor Michael Teigen in a photo posted on Instagram.
VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver hockey coach posted video of the first steps he took following transplant surgery, which he used to go thank his donor.
Stephen Gillis posted video on Instagram Wednesday, saying his kidney transplant was "beyond successful."
He said his kidney is working perfectly, and he was even able to walk the day after the procedure.
"For my first steps with three kidneys I went to see my hero, Michael (Teigen), and thank him," Gillis posted.
He said Teigen is doing well, and will be released in the coming days. Gillis will be monitored in hospital until the weekend, then will go home to recover.
"Had an ultrasound this afternoon where I saw the kidney inside me. The human body and what we can do with it is absolutely amazing," Gillis wrote.
The video shows Gills walking slowly with an IV pole through the hallway of the Vancouver General Hospital.
He jokes that he's going to name his new organ, but that he hasn't figured out the right one yet.
"We were discussing Hercules," he says, because of the kidney's large size.
"Maybe (WWE wrestler) Brock Lesnar."
Gillis's journey to this point began with a public appeal from a young hockey team.
About a year ago, the kids posted a video online asking for help. Their search for a kidney went viral – reaching total strangers, but also an old friend.
Teigen, who hadn't seen Gillis much in the last decade, decided to find out if he was a match.
He shared the news with Gillis in what was disguised as just a visit. The encounter was captured on camera, and posted online.
"I could have just called him," Teigen said in a in a previous interview with CTV News.
"I could have just texted him. But now we have this little piece of video that's up on the internet that people might have a look at, and might go, 'Huh. I should look into organ donation myself.'"
While waiting for a transplant, Gillis used the platform created by the viral videos to advocate for an "opt-out" system for organ donations in B.C.
In April, he told CTV News that he wanted to pursue his push for a policy change, which could save others in similar situations. He suggests that instead of the current system, in which British Columbians are required to sign up to be donors, the default in B.C. should change. Instead, those who don't wish to donate should have to opt out.
The province's health minister said he'd be watching how Nova Scotia implements an opt-out system before making any moves, saying at the time that the current plan was to invest in education programs instead.
Gillis found out the date of his surgery at Christmastime, and spoke to CTV News on Monday, ahead of the procedure. He and Teigen were in good spirits at the time, with Teigen joking that he'd changed his mind at the last minute.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim and Shannon Paterson