One father embarked on a year-long weight-loss journey to become an organ donor for his son.

A strong mind and clear intentions can accomplish the impossible. One Canadian father showed his determination through a gruelling weight-loss regimen to help his son however he can.

One year ago, Daniel Kablutsiak and his wife were searching for an organ donor for their son, Hunter.

Hunter was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney disease in 2020. He was managing the disease as best as he could but the medication — 10 pills a day — took a toll on his body and energy. “He’s doing just fine, but with all these pills, that drains his energy easily compared to normal teenager,” Daniel said. 

Why One Father Decided to Lose Weight

Hunter needed a new kidney. His father, Daniel, knew he was a blood type match and could be a potential donor, but there was one problem. Daniel was 274 pounds and classified as overweight. Some of Hunter’s siblings were also potential donors but Daniel did not want to have to put them through surgery. To be the donor, Daniel would have to bring his weight down under 200 pounds.

“So I took action,” Daniel said. He embarked on a year-long journey to become eligible. Daniel focused on two things: diet and exercise. He cut sugar out of his diet, and started walking at least five kilometres each day. When the temperature dropped below zero, or when there were polar bears in the area — a common occurrence in Arviat, Nunavut — he’d go to the gym to get his work in. “I was determined. I really love him, and I put my mind into it — ‘I’m going to do it,’ and I went at it,” he said.

Over the next year, medication kept Hunter stable while Daniel chipped away at his goal of saving his son’s life. Roughly 13 months after Daniel began his weight-loss training, he weighed in at 195 pounds. He was officially eligible to donate his kidney to Hunter.

How One Man Found Purpose in His Weight Loss Journey

Daniel credits his wife, Francine, for being his “coach” and keeping him motivated, but Francine witnessed his determination and believes he did it on his own. “He did most of it by himself, I’d say,” Francine said. “He came a long way. Wasn’t easy for him. I couldn’t have been more proud for him.”

The year-long journey Daniel committed to proved to be a breath of fresh air for Hunter and the whole family. “His spirit went up, his energy, and I can see the glow in his face like some kind of relief or something,” Daniel said.

With the days of being overweight behind him, Daniel feels better than ever. He was able to play a lot of hockey with Hunter this year, which he couldn’t do a year ago. The extra weight was giving him too much knee trouble. The inspiration he has given his children is priceless and he is committed to continue on this healthier path. 

Daniel Kablutisak found purpose in his training. He stayed determined for 13 months straight so that he could save his son. In the end, he not only improved his son’s quality of life, but his own in the process.

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