B.C. is a provincial city that has seen its share of tragedy in recent years.
But one man’s story is more than just a tragedy — it is a symbol of hope for other Canadians living with the virus.
It is one of the stories that makes up the “Breathe Your Heart” documentary series, which premieres on CBC News Network on Friday.
“I am here because I know that there is hope.
I am here to tell you that there are people out there who can be helped, and there are others who can’t, but that there’s hope for everyone,” said Daniel Gagnon, who has been living with HIV since 2014 and has been fighting the disease for a decade.”
The most important thing I can tell you is that this is not an insurmountable problem.
You can get through it.”
The man who will be the focus of the series, Daniel Gaggin, is a former Air Canada flight attendant who is now living with his wife and child in Burnaby, B.I.G. was diagnosed at age 14 with the same infection as Gagnons.
He was a flight attendant in the early 1980s and, as a passenger, became the first person in the world to catch the virus when he took a flight on a Delta flight from Montreal to Toronto in 1988.
“We were on our way to Calgary and there was a problem on the plane and a lot of passengers had blood in their nose and throats and so the plane was very, very noisy.
It was not very pleasant to be on,” Gaggen said.”
So I got the idea that maybe, just maybe, I could help them.””
I was terrified,” he said.
“I was like, ‘what am I going to do?
Where am I?’
I had never been on a plane before.””
At that time, my parents had only been married for two months.
We had only just moved to Canada and were going to get married in two weeks.
I had just graduated from high school, so I didn’t know how to deal with a lot in my life.””
So my mother asked me to go into the bathroom and wash my hands and wash them in the sink.
So I went to the bathroom in my mom’s room, and I washed my hands.””
And I was just like, I have never been washed in the bathroom before.”‘
It was a miracle’After years of trying to find a doctor, Gagger found a doctor who prescribed him a shot of the drug metronidazole.
“And when I was told that I was HIV-positive, I was like that was a big surprise.
I mean, I had a doctor that told me that I could get HIV-1.
I was totally like, wow, what is going on?
I didn´t know what to think.
I wasn’t a person who had any preconceived notions,” he recalled.
Gaggin said he has been in a long-term relationship with his partner for five years and he and his wife have three children.
“But this is something that really touched me, because it was a surprise to me, too.
It made me feel that this was something that could happen to anybody,” he added.”
It was not something that had been in my past.
I just knew it was something I had to do.
And it was an amazing feeling.
It felt like a miracle.”
The documentary will also look at the impact of the pandemic, including efforts to educate people about HIV prevention.
“There is a lot we can learn from the experiences of other people who are living with it.
The things we have learnt from people who have gone through this, it’s very helpful.
We can use it to inform our own thinking,” Gagn, a father of three, said.
He is hopeful the series will inspire others.
“Because you see, if we don’t do something about it, people will not come forward,” he concluded.
The first episode of the “I Was a Binge-Watching Hero” series will air on CBC on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.