LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Valence Sams has a lot to be thankful for. He's just one of a few dozen people ever to have a triple transplant -- heart, liver and kidney.
Valence battled a rare inflammatory disease for a decade but says that he never lost faith. After getting a new lease on life, this Thanksgiving, surrounded by love and laughter, he says he's most grateful for his organ donors, doctors and family.
Valance spent last Thanksgiving in a hospital bed.
"I was fighting cardiac sarcoidosis; it attacked the heart, and then followed was the kidneys, and the liver," said Valance.
I would encourage anyone to give an organ and save a lifeValence Sams
But then, this spring, he got the news that saved his life.
"When they called me, I just started crying...I've seen a lot of people get organs and I was always happy for them. Then my turn came. It took 10 years, but it was well worth the wait," Valance said.
In May, the 46-year-old father of three boys received a new heart, liver and kidney that he desperately needed. Friday marked six months since the 20-hour triple transplant surgery at Cedars-Sinai -- only the 46th nationwide since 1989.
Now this holiday season, Valance is again living a full life -- with three new gifts he is forever thankful for.
"Organ donation is a beautiful thing, and I'm glad to have experienced it and would encourage anyone to give an organ and save a life," he said.
Valance says he's in the process of writing a letter to get in contact with his organ donor's family, saying their loved one is living through him, and he is going to live the best life he can.