'I wanted to prank him a little again': Vancouver hockey coach gets Christmas surprise from kidney donor
VANCOUVER -- Stephen Gillis didn’t know it, but when a nurse approached him during a kidney dialysis appointment on Tuesday and handed him a gift-wrapped box, he was about to learn something that would change his life forever.
“I’m looking at her and asking, 'What’s this?'" Gillis recalled. "This is my first holiday season in dialysis so maybe they give everybody a gift? I don’t know!"
He also didn’t know his kidney transplant donor Michael Teigen was secretly recording as he unwrapped the gift, and discovered a t-shirt with a picture of a kidney and a date: Feb. 18, 2020.
“He said ‘I think that might be my transplant date!’ And that’s when he spied us spying on him and he figured it all out,” said Teigan, who then approached Gillis’ hospital bed wearing the same grey t-shirt that he secretly had made when he learned their surgery date the day before.
“He's the best” said Gillis. “There's no better reveal on these huge moments in our story and in our journey.“
Teigen, who once worked with Gillis at Vancouver Theatresports, volunteered to donate his kidney to the pee wee hockey coach after seeing a viral video Gillis’ young players made, pleading for people to get tested.
“I wanted to help, and when I saw who it was and I saw the good things he’s doing, I wanted to do good things as well,” said Teigen.
In April, Teigen recorded the moment he surprised Gillis with the news that he was a match and donating his kidney, and is hoping this new video of their surgery date reveal will get as much attention.
"I could have just called him," Teigen said. "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.'"
The two men now have a date with a surgeon in February, and if all goes well, Gillis hopes he will only miss a few weeks of ice time with his hockey team. And he expects his donor will have more pranks in store for him as their big day approaches.
“He keeps getting me!” said Gillis. “I imagine there's going to be some more moments where he surprises me with something else.”
Teigen’s not revealing any secrets, but cryptically added “Who knows what the future has in store?”