'I've had 25 years of first day of the rest of my life'

'I've had 25 years of first day of the rest of my life'

EUGENE, Ore. - William Eldon Hickey loves spending time with the grand kids. 

Soon to be 77, he has lived what many would call a long and happy life.

"I've seen all my kids married," says Hickey, "and have had a bunch of grand kids."

Events that would have gone unseen and people he would never have met if it wasn't for not one, but two heart transplants.

After suffering a heart attack in 1986, he found himself in need of his first transplant.  Doctors, however, were hesitant, but his wife's persistence helped get Hickey the heart he needed.

Eight months later he suffered another heart attack and needed to be re-transplanted, the first of many complications he would experience over the next 25 years.

"In 2010 I was told to go home and get my affairs together," explains Hickey, "because I wasn't going to live but just a little while."

Two years later he is still going, fighting through any and all trials and tribulations - and against the odds:  according to the Cambridge Oxford Heart Transplant Foundation, the life expectancy for a heart transplant patient is, at best, only 24 years.

"People say, 'today is the first day of the rest of your life' and I've had 25 years of first day of the rest of my life," Hickey said.

He hopes his story will put both donors and transplant patients a little more at ease knowing a long, full life is possible after a transplant.