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Qualicum First Nation chief makes first official appearance after kidney transplant

‘Forever friends’: Michael Recalma received donation from Coun. Scott Harrison
Qualicum First Nation Chief Michael Recalma, left, is back on his feet after a kidney transplant in February, made possible by Qualicum Beach Coun. Scott Harrison, right, who donated his own kidney. (Michael Briones photo)

Qualicum First Nation Chief Michael Recalma says he feels “amazing.”

Recalma is recovering from a kidney transplant in February, with a donation from Qualicum Beach Coun. Scott Harrison. On Saturday afternoon, Recalma attended his first official function since the operation, the Freedom of the Town event in Qualicum Beach.

Friends, town officials and veterans came over to greet Recalma and welcomed him back. He was all smiles and was keen to relate how he is feeling.

“It’s just been amazing,” said Recalma. “The transformation, the change from a sluggish guy. I called myself a turtle. To change into… I have energy. I have the right colour back on my face and I have gained some weight. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.”

Recalma will continue to have more medical follow-ups in Vancouver and will travel back and forth until he is fully healed.

RELATED: PODCAST: Qualicum Beach Coun. Scott Harrison discusses donating a kidney

“You’ll never know,” said Recalma. “There’s no set time. It’s how my blood work goes, my tests, etc. That’s the key. The doctor said to me on Thursday ‘I don’t want to send you home almost better. I want to send you home in the best shape I can’. And this is why I am going back for as long as it takes.”

Recalma stressed he is extremely grateful for Harrison’s gift to him.

“I call it the gift of life,” said Recalma. “We’re forever friends now.”

Recalma is not one to just sit idly while he recovers. He has been made fully aware by the health and medical staff that helped him that walking would be good for him and to always keep the kidney hydrated.

One of the things that Recalma is happy to get rid of is his dialysis machine. He said they absorbed most of his time as he had treatment three times a day.

“They kept me alive but they’re not doing what your kidneys always do,” said Recalma. “Your kidneys work 24/7.”

Harrison is happy to see Recalma recovering and back to work.

“It’s good for the community to see him on his feet… and more vibrant,” said Harrison. “I am just grateful he is back.”

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Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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