Alberta mom fully recovered after ‘miracle’ double-lung transplant surgery


It was just a routine gallbladder surgery for Edmonton’s Brenda Kinnear. However, it was that surgery that changed her life forever.

The mother of two boys in their late 20s and early 30s left hospital after that surgery on oxygen. A few days later, doctors warned her that she had end-stage idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

In November 2002, she was put on a double-lung transplant list and she waited for five years, but doctors had a hard time finding a match for the mother, a four-foot-11 woman who was in her 50s.Brenda Kinnear

As she needed a set of lungs that were from a 12-year-old child, her two sons — Darryl and Shannon Kinnear — offered to each donate part of their lungs to help their mother.

“Our sons spoke to the doctors and surgeons and basically told them that they were going to be my donors,” said the mother who also had offers from her husband to donate part of his lungs, along with two other relatives.

“Their mindset was that Mom needed Dad sitting beside her — not lying beside her. The also chose which side they wanted to donate. Daryl — being the oldest — asked which side is first; the right. He is my right lobe. Shannon wanted to be closest to my heart. He is my left lobe. Remember — I am not getting a full set of lungs — just lobes.”

It has been close to 10 years since the surgery and the mother says she can now breathe easier.

“If you had asked anyone who knew me 10 years ago if I’d ever be able to travel outside of Edmonton, let alone Canada, they would have laughed at you,” said Brenda Kinnear.

“So if you see me out and about, feel free to talk to me about transplants. If I’m hunched over trying to catch my breathe, just wait a few moments then I’m back and ready to go again. My husband and I love to talk about my miracle. “

Stay tuned to in the next few weeks ahead to learn more about this amazing family.

Let us know what you would do if you could breathe better? Share your stories with us! 

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