CORNWALL, Ontario – When Myles Lynch of St. Andrews West opened his eyes in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Toronto General Hospital on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, he was astounded and thrilled: he was alive.
Having been wheeled into the Operating Room (OR) three days earlier on Sunday, April 21, the then 21-year-old knew the risks associated with his surgery, as well as the rewards: if he were to survive the second phase of his surgery, which would commence the next day (Thursday, April 25), he would become the first ever Canadian to successfully receive three double-lung transplants.
The surgery took place over a number of days due to many serious incidents: Lynch’s pulmonary artery ruptured (for the second time ever), he required an Aortic patch, surgeons needed to remove a number of blood clots and his body needed time to adjust to donor blood after losing so much during the initial 21 hours of operation.
Although Lynch feels a sense of invincibility having overcome so many health scares, all while approaching life with a pragmatic optimism, he often feels that this successful feat is not something he has necessarily earned, but rather a status that has been bestowed on him.
Now, Lynch is taking control of his narrative, sharing the details and challenges he has faced throughout his life, all while showcasing his multi-faceted qualities and kaleidoscope of talents. With his film 8 Thousand Myles, the now 22-year-old is proud to remind friends and supporters that he is much more than any label associated with a health circumstance: he is a fun solo-traveller, an artist, and someone who has bravery to overcome obstacles and try new things.
On Sunday, Dec. 22, Lynch will be showing his debut feature-length movie, which he filmed and edited on his own over a five-month period, at the Port Theatre in Cornwall. Attendees are asked to arrive at 6:30 p.m. and donate $5 in cash for their ticket on site.
The movie will follow Lynch on a seven-week journey across Canada where he attended a cousin’s wedding in Golden, B.C. His trip commenced on Sunday, Aug. 18 and ended when he returned to his South Stormont home on Sunday, Oct. 6. Throughout his journey he stopped to see friends and family along the way, different landmarks and took part in some cool activities, including acting as an Uber Eats driver — an occupation he has experience with and enjoys — and downhill mountain biking in the West Coast, just to name a few.
Before he left, he posted some promotional videos of his adventure on Facebook, including a clip of him removing a car seat from his trusty Volkswagon.
“I thought: it’s that much more adventurous and thought-provoking if you do it all from your car,” said Lynch with a laugh, noting that he slept in the car many nights.
Throughout the film, Lynch focuses on his summer adventure, taking his viewers on a spontaneous ride through our country’s landscape. He also briefly discusses what it is like to grow up living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) as well as the three transplant surgeries he has underwent, including his second surgery, which was especially difficult.
“I wanted to keep a positive outlook about it…even though I was cruising at about 30 per cent lung function for most of the transplant. I made it seem as though ‘it’s alright, it’s not that bad’ but it was quite a big struggle…by early March of 2019 I was really working for every breath…every day would be a very close call,” he explained.
Lynch would like to thank staff at the Port Theatre, all medical workers who have helped him throughout his life, organ donors and anyone who has supported him. Lynch is excited to showcase his work to a local audience and share his knowledgeable opinion on issues he is passionate about, including creating an opt out program for organ and tissue donation.
In high school, someone asked Lynch what he wanted to title a movie about his life. With some wit and respect for the rapper Eminem, he said ‘8 Myles’. Now, he has exceed his hopes, multiplying his title by a thousand to represent the adventure he embarked on, with many more soon to come.