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Virginia Beach man with broken heart gets transplant before Valentine’s Day

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A Virginia Beach man with a broken heart had his prayers answered just in time for Valentine’s Day.

34-year-old Matt Ferreol found out his heart was failing in 2010. Doctors told him he needed a heart pump to keep him alive, but that didn’t stop him from living.

“All I could think about was, 'How am I going to live my life with this thing?'" said Ferreol.

A battery-operated machine that he carried around was now responsible for pumping blood to the rest of his body.

After the initial shock wore off, Ferreol got back to the things he loved.

He coached basketball at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School to keep his mind on something other than being sick.

“When I took the focus off myself and put the focus on them, that really got me through it," said Ferreol.

Related: Domestic violence victims receive chocolate for Valentine's Day 

More than eight years after he was given a heart pump, things got worse. The pump clotted twice, and doctors told Ferreol that he needed to be moved to the top of the transplant list.

Ferreol and his family recently got the news that they’d been waiting for: Doctors at Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk told him they found him a match for a new heart.

Ferreol said he was speechless when he found out he was getting his new heart. He sat in disbelief for hours before he went in for surgery.

For the first time in eight years, Ferreol was finally able to hear his heart beat after a successful heart transplant.

February is also American Heart Month. You can help save lives by registering to be a donor online or any time you update your license at the DMV.

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