In August 2009, Donald was performing at the Kitchener Blues Festival with The Derek Miller Band. Donald is an exciting performer to watch. He moves with grace and intensity as the music flows through him. The audience was caught up in his performance as he reached the height of his solo. Suddenly Donald felt his heart beating erratically. Then it stopped. There was an eerie stillness as everyone watched him crumple to the floor of the stage. Festival paramedics pushed through the crowd to reach him and applied CPR. They were able to revive him but during the frantic race to the hospital his heart stopped beating four times.
At St. Mary's Hospital in Kitchener he underwent a new medical procedure which involved cooling his body down to 32 degrees F and putting him into a drug-induced coma. It took about two weeks before he was fully awakened and then he was transferred to Toronto General Hospital where he remained for several months. Donald is currently undergoing therapy at Toronto Rehab on an out-patient basis and as the picture attests, looks fantastic and is making music again. In December he had the newest generation of pacemakers surgically implanted which will guard against future arrhythmias.
If you were allowed only a few words to describe Donald, 'super-human stamina' would come to mind. Donald is a composer, producer, performer, businessman, craftsman, husband and friend and he can perform all these functions brilliantly on any given day. It must have been this amazing core strength that sustained him. Donald says everything has healed and he's now technically better than he was before. And he'll certainly need all that strength and more because Donald and his wife Lisa are expecting twins at the beginning of March.
Happy New Year Lisa & Donald from all your Lighthouse friends!