Daniel Canal and his family are celebrating a milestone. The 27-year-old graduated with Latin Honors upon receiving his master's from Cal State Stanislaus Thursday morning. "Getting a degree -- and a master's degree no less -- is something I never thought about, never imaged would be possible," said Canal. A monumental achievement for Canal -- given the health problems he faced as a kid.
"Over the course of eight years, my family and I moved from city to city, from hospital to hospital trying to stay healthy while we waited for a donor that could give me an intestine transplant that I needed to survive," said Canal.
To live, Canal needed not just one but four transplants after one of his organs failed. "Doctors discovered they had to transplant not only a small intestine but a liver, pancreas and stomach as well," said Canal.
Canal had to wait years before receiving his first organ donation in 1998 but his body rejected them ... twice. It was the third transplant that finally worked. "I haven't had just one chance at life, I've had three. One of the things that I think often is the people that gave up their lives so I could have another chance at life," said Canal.
At just 13 years old, Canal received the third set of four new organs -- going into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most organ transplants in history. Canal knows that without his family's love and support he would not be alive today and not only surviving but thriving. "He's making history. It was amazing. Today was just overwhelming. I mean all I did was sit there and cry," said Canal's mother, Lori.
Canal wants to use his degree to teach English literature at a community college but he also plans on using his own story to teach others about the importance of organ donation. "Consider that you're granting someone literally another chance of life. There's no simpler way to put it. You're giving somebody who didn't have a chance before, the chance to finish their dreams," said Canal. A dream he fought for so he can live life to the fullest.