One East Texas Man's Heart Has Been Ticking For Ten Years

For a paramedic in the emergency room at East Texas Medical, Thursday was like any other day. And as the time clock ticked for Joshua Canal, it was another ticker that helped him to help others.  "Almost any kind of procedure, I probably had it done to me, so it's very easy to relate to people," said Canal.

Looking at him now, you'd never know that ten years ago, Canal had a heart transplant.  "I was actually born with one of the ventricles in my heart undeveloped, so I had a one ventricle heart."  Canal said, gradually his heart became worse and worse.  "I got to the point where I felt like I couldn't walk 30 feet to the bathroom."

On January 24th, 1998, Josh went in for surgery.  Shortly after 2 a.m. the next morning, his 17- year-old chest was home to a new, 12-year-old heart.  "She was about 12 years old and was walking to school, and walked out in front of an SUV that didn't see her, and she didn't see it," he said.

Josh got to tell that little girl's mom, thank you, in person for the first this past year.  "She actually said she was very excited.  She said in seeing me alive, she knows that her daughter is in someway alive."

And now, in an interesting twist of fate, Josh works everyday to keep other people alive at ETMC.

"I think it makes them more comfortable that [the person] working on them has been in the same situation they've been in," he said.

He said he's just grateful for a second chance at life.

"God wasn't done with me at 17.  He had so much more to do, and he's not done with me yet, either."

Layron Livingston, Reporting.