Josh MacIver says he has a lot to thank his late sibling for, including the inspiration to become a family doctor.
On Wednesday, two years after completing his undergraduate degree in medicine and 14 years after his brother Gairett MacIver passed away, the Prince George, B.C., native graduated from the two-year family medicine residency program at UBC to become a full general practitioner.
MacIver's older brother, still just a teenager, made international news headlines after receiving four organs at once, including a bowel, liver, pancreas and stomach — in a 12-hour surgery at Toronto General Hospital on Aug. 1, 2006.
Unfortunately, MacIver died a year later at the age of 19 at Vancouver General Hospital following a bout of pneumonia.
Josh — four years Gairett's junior — says his big brother always wanted to become a doctor at a time when he was still deciding what to do.
"When I was in high school, certainly I wasn't always sure where I would go," MacIver said to Carolina de Ryk, the host of CBC's Daybreak North.
"Seeing the way that there was such a positive change based on ... Garret's care was an amazing experience, and I think that it gave me some window into an area that can make a lot of really positive change in people's lives.
"It's hugely impactful for sure," he said.
MacIver says his brother's medical issues were a life-changing experience for the family, because, for several years, Gairett had to stay in the Toronto hospital while they stayed in Prince George.
"We had remarkable support from the medical community but also from so many people who tuned into his journey and supported us through it," he said. "It was a life-altering experience that certainly helped to put me where I am today."
MacIver says if Gairett were still alive, he would be very proud of his little brother's achievement.
"He always was sort of a man of few words, but I know that he certainly would have had the time to take me aside and tell me that he's proud and make sure that he knows that I'm supported," he said.
Tap the link below to hear Josh MacIver's interview on Daybreak North: