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New heart, kidney give Earl Fleming a second chance at life

RICHMOND, Va. -- Inside Earl Fleming's hospital room at VCU Medical Center, there's no shortage of smiles and laughter.

"Everyone fights to be his nurse," said one of Fleming's nurses.

Fleming often supplies the nurses with endless amounts of Diana Ross tunes as well.

Earl Fleming

Earl Fleming

However on this particular December night, Earl has something extra special to sing about.

He's been at VCU Medical Center for months waiting for a heart.

In 2008, he suffered from heart failure and things took a turn for the worst this past April.

On December 1, Fleming got the news he had been waiting months for.

Earl Fleming

Earl Fleming

The doctor told him he will be getting a heart and kidney.

"This is the best Christmas and birthday gift," said Fleming.

Fleming was surrounded by friends and family hours before the operation.

His surgery was no simple operation. We're told it took around 16 hours to complete the heart transplant and give him a new kidney.

CBS 6 was able to see Fleming several weeks after the operation.

Earl Fleming

Earl Fleming

"I can't believe how great I feel!" said Fleming on Monday.

He says this is the ultimate Christmas and birthday present.

"When I heard my heart for the first time it felt like a symphony that was made just for me," he said.

And while Fleming still has more time at VCU Medical Center, he said it is his support system at the hospital that has helped him get a new chance at life.

Earl Fleming

Earl Fleming

"No stone unturned, whenever you need them," he said, "moral support, mental support."

As Earl begins his new chapter in his life, he hopes his journey will now inspire others.

"I just want people to take care of themselves and love," he said.