A Saanich man recovering from his second double-lung transplant is overwhelmed by the support he has received since his story was shared in the Times Colonist this month.
James Reimer, 29, born with the genetic disorder cystic fibrosis, appealed for exercise equipment or a gym membership to help him recover after his second double-lung transplant was performed in Toronto on May 29.
Reimer was weak when he returned to Saanich on Sept. 18. He had waged a tireless fight for his life in hospital after it seemed like his body would reject his new lungs.
In answer to his appeal, Reimer, who grew up on Saltspring island, received a flood of offers, including a new Diamondback exercise bike from a local couple.
“I already feel the difference,” Reimer said. “It will help me get a lot stronger.”
Another family in Sidney has an elliptical machine waiting for him.
Reimer also received many offers of gym memberships, from such facilities as: Panorama Recreation Centre, the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence on the Camosun College Interurban campus, Vikes Athletics and Recreation at the University of Victoria, and One to One Fitness.
A woman with lung disease also offered to pay for several yoga lessons for Reimer at the Iyengar Yoga Centre in Victoria.
Kathy Reimer, James’s mother, said the family was flooded with emails after the story appeared and has been buoyed by an outpouring of sympathy and support from across Vancouver Island and several prayer groups on Saltspring Island.
The family also has been helped along the way by community and online donations.
James Reimer’s older sister, Laura Jane, died of the same disorder in 1982, when she was five years old.
About five per cent of adults who undergo a double lung transplant will suffer a catastrophic surgical complication in the first few weeks. Another 10 to 15 per cent will die within the first year from an infection-related complication. By five years after a transplant, 60 per cent are still alive.
It’s projected that soon, 50 per cent will make it to 10 years.
Reimer had his first double-lung transplant in Toronto on May 12, 2011. A year later, he married his wife, Adena, and the next day his body began to reject those new lungs.
He is now breathing with his third set of lungs.