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Man with double lung transplant runs marathon with kids

2:02 PM, Oct 20, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - It's a feat in itself to run a half marathon, but to run 13.1 miles after a double lung transplant is nothing less than extraordinary.

That's 46-year-old Gavin Maitland's story.

"I appreciate every breath. When you can't breathe nothing else matters. I had a very rare lung disease that came on suddenly at age 41. Before the transplant I was terrible. I could barely breath, I was on oxygen," Maitland said. "My donor was very young, 22 years old. I was very lucky to get his lungs. I'd be dead without it... I almost passed away five years ago I was getting worse and worse by the day, by the week and I got the transplant just-in-time which is an amazing thing."

On Sunday, he ran his third Rock n' Roll Half Marathon but this time, he has a little extra motivation.

"I was able to run with my beautiful daughter Riley and it was so fantastic to compete with her," said Maitland.

Now 12 years old, Riley was eligible to enter the race.

"I said, 'No chance! You're far too young, you can't run 13 miles' and she said 'Dad I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it,'" said Mailtland. "This is the furthest she has ever run. It's amazing."

For Riley, this race means more than just the miles under her shoes.

"I ran today for my dad. I was just proud of him. Being in the race with him meant a lot," said Riley Maitland.

They both finished the race and now they are planning their next adventure.

"We're going to do a big swim in San Francisco. We are going to swim Bridge to Bridge... Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge... 6 miles," he said.

To learn more about the American transplant foundation go to: www.americantransplantfoundation.org.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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