A heart transplant changes one man's way of life - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

A heart transplant changes one man's way of life

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The word thankful seems to be one of Oscar Sainz's favorites these days after he received a heart transplant in May.

    He says he's lucky and of course thankful to have celebrated his 50th birthday this year. It's an age he wasn't sure he'd reach after he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure nine years ago.

He and his mother moved to Spokane in 2008 to find treatment at Sacred Heart Medical Center. They waited for 11 months, everyday hoping to get the call from a doctor

"All the time I was up there I had a lot of things to keep me positive and a lot of things to live for," Sainz said.

When the call finally came his family was speechless. They say they were grateful to receive such a blessing for their beloved Oscar. The transplant proved to be successful. Oscar is still home recovering. Every day is a new chance at life he says.

"I turned this into an opportunity," Sainz said. "I've met a lot of people, learned a lot of things, and now I want to be able to contribute a little back."

The Sainz family has been working ever since to encourage others to sign up to be a donor. Oscar and his mother wear green bracelets to show they're part of the local transplant community. Oscar says he hopes everyone will give thanks and give life this holiday season.