Daniel Canal nearly died at 8 years old. 19 years and multiple organ transplants down the line, Daniel is about to embark on the most remarkable journey of his adult life.
“It would be up to me and chance to see that I could fight my way out of it,” Daniel said.
Daniel Canal fought for his life. The battle began at 8 years old when he fell deathly ill.
“I was spending the night at my grandmother’s house with my parents Christmas eve of 1992. I fell ill and collapsed,” he said.
Daniel’s parents rushed him to Fresno’s Children Hospital. Doctors discovered that his small and large intestine twisted. They removed the organs and it would take a few years to find a donor.
“When we finally got a donor when I was 13 years old, the IV nutrition I had been on had ruined my organs.”
In addition to his intestine, Daniel’s stomach, liver, and pancreas had deteriorated. Over the next 6 weeks, Daniel underwent 3 organ transplants. His body rejected all 4 organs the first two times he went under the knife. But he got a 3rd chance, and was on the road to recovery.
“I had relearned to walk. I had to relearn to eat. I had gone 7 years without eating anything,” he said.
In 1999, Daniel’s story inspired the world when he was profiled in People magazine.
This survivor was determined to go places in life… including the graduation stage.
Daniel graduated from California State University, Stanislaus, Thursday. His proud and grateful family stood by his side.
“There was a period where the transplants defined my life and that's what I was known for and so the chance to make accomplishments outside of that. That's a milestone,” he said.
He’s 27 now, armed with a master’s degree in literature, and the goal of becoming a community college teacher.
“It's the perfect opportunity for me to be in the classroom. And to tell these people to work hard all your life, it does pay off,” he said.