By Tony Lopez

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento man has beaten the odds after receiving a heart transplant 25 years ago.

To understand how big of a deal that is, you just have to meet Mick Doughty.

The stories he tells are as humorous as they are unlikely, because the odds of taking part in a hearty laugh 25 years after what he’s been through, weren’t great.

“I had no idea I was sick, then one night my heart just blew up,” Doughty said.

He was in his early 40s, in need of a heart transplant, and was told at the time that even if he was lucky enough to get one, he shouldn’t expect to see his grandchildren.

“I asked how long could I expect to live, he said, ‘Well 10 years, we shoot for 20,’ and I said ‘oh I’ve got to beat that,'” Doughty said.

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He’s done just that. The average life expectancy for a heart transplant recipient is just over nine years.

On Wednesday, this 68-year-old father and grandfather helped one of the most successful heart transplant centers in the nation, Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, celebrate.

Sutter Cardiac Program Director John Chin spoke at Doughty’s celebration.

“That’s what it’s all about, giving people back their lives, and giving people a quality of life,” Chin said. “It’s very very gratifying, it’s why we do this.”

The doctors credit Doughty for being the perfect patient. He stayed active and positive after the procedure.

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“He’s just a character, does everything he has to do, he’s a ham up there, he’s the life of the party,” cardiac surgeon Robert Kincade said.

To keep track of that life, Doughty was given a box with a fitting memento to remind him how time keeps on ticking, just like his heart.

“People ask me, ‘So how ya feeling?’ and I always say, ‘never better,'” Doughty said.

Now Doughty has one more milestone to celebrate. The longest a heart transplant has lived is 34 years, so he had nine more years to go.