Man gets Christmas wish -- a heart transplant

December 22, 2009 (Maywood, Ill.) In early October Larry Lee was admitted to the hospital. He was so sick doctors told him he couldn't leave until he got a new heart.

Halloween flew by, then Thanksgiving. And by early December, it was looking pretty grim.

That's when Nurse Tracy Fernandez remembered it was time to move the tree.

"Later on in the evening as it got darker I was like we should put this tree to work, and move it over. So I moved the tree over," said Tracy Fernandez, nurse.

Nurse Fernandez was carrying on a Christmas tradition that began five years ago. Every Christmas, nurses move the tree to the room with the patient in most critical need of a new heart...and then they wait.

"The first night I looked at tree and prayed to God...and the next night...looking at the tree and went to sleep and that's when the news came," said Larry Lee, heart transplant recipient.

After being on the waiting list for a new heart for more than three years, the call came -- a donor's heart was a perfect match.

"I can't name a Christmas present better than this one. It's the best Christmas present there could be," said Lee.

"It was probably the second happiest day of my life because the first was when I married him," said Juana Lee, Larry's wife.

His heart surgeon says Lee is incredibly lucky.

"Probably for every patient that receive organ transplant, there are ten patients that did not have chance to have organ," said Dr. Mamdous Bakhous, Loyola heart surgeon.

Call it what you will, the Lees say it's nothing less than a Christmas miracle.

The tree has worked its magic five years in a row now.

Larry should have many more years of good living ahead of him and plenty of time to do what?

"Fish, fish fish...get some gloves on and going to go fish," said Lee.

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