For Natalie Daoust, time is never something she has taken for granted. The North Bay resident was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was two years old. Now twenty-five years old, she wasn’t sure she would make it this far.

“I couldn’t even brush my hair I couldn’t even brush my teeth,” Daoust tells CTV News. “I couldn’t walk up to the car, couldn’t walk to the stairs. I couldn’t even make my own coffee, like my mom was making my own coffee for me.”

Daoust was told she needed a double lung transplant. She says while a normal person has anywhere from 90 percent to 100 percent lung function, she had just 18 percent function.

It was not an easy journey for Daoust or her family. She says on two separate occasions she received a call telling her a match was found, only to quickly be turned down.  

“You get your hopes up only to be told they are no good but you feel bad for feeling upset about it because there was still someone who passed away.”

After a long and challenging journey a match was found. In April, Daoust underwent a seven and a half hour surgery, finally receiving the double lung transplant that she needed. The moment of removing the tubes was something the family found very special.

“At about 8:30 in the morning they removed the tube and Natalie closed her eyes and had a big smile as she took her first breath,” Dan Caskenette, Daoust’s father says.

According to friends of Daoust, the transplant couldn’t have been given to a more deserving person.

“She’s probably one of the most selfless, kindest humans I’ve ever met in my life,” says friend Nick Laporte. “Like I said I was going through all kinds of injury troubles and she’s there fighting for her life sending me text messages at night to make sure I was doing okay.”

Daoust wanted to share her story, in the hopes of encouraging people to become organ donors, because without her surgery, she says she wouldn’t be here today. She says she feels like she has a new lease on life.

“Life now is so much better and that wouldn’t be possible without my donor.”