49-year-old Hector Fernandez, of Clearwater, Florida, put his life on the line when he served in the U.S. Army from 1994 to 2004. But when he came home, he had no idea that his life would be at risk yet again, except this time under different circumstances.

Ten years later, he learned that he had a congenital heart defect from a gene mutation and would need a heart transplant in order to survive.

Photo: YouTube/WFLA News Channel 8

After waiting for seven years, the father of four has finally got his life-saving wish.

Fernandez and his family was scared that he wouldn’t get a heart transplant in time, but when doctors at Tampa General Hospital told him that a donor heart had been found, he immediately broke down in tears.

Photo: YouTube/WFLA News Channel 8

“I’m gonna do everything I can to live a good life and be worthy of that gift that was given to me,” Hector Fernandez told 8 On Your Side.

After the transplant, Fernandez says he has never felt this good in years and calls it a “true miracle.”

Photo: YouTube/WFLA News Channel 8

Although he has to stay at the hospital for a few more weeks to recover, doctors say he should be home with his family just in time for Christmas, which will make the holidays extra special.

Fernandez has even received many donations from kind-hearted people to help pay for his medical bills, which he says has lifted a huge burden.

Hear more of Fernandez’ incredible story in the video below:

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