Escape from Alcatraz: Gavin Maitland's swim back to life
9 August 2013 Last updated at 20:36 BST
Gavin Maitland underwent a life-saving double lung transplant in 2008.
Five years later, he swam from Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay to the mainland, accompanied by his son and daughter - a feat that mirrored his journey back from the brink of death.
Here, Gavin talks about the illness that nearly killed him and how it has changed his outlook on life.
Produced by the BBC's Anna Bressanin.