Once Upon a Christmas Miracle

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Once Upon a Christmas Miracle is a Christmas film originally broadcast on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel in 2018.

The film is based on the real-life story of Chris and Heather (nee Krueger) Dempsey, a Chicagoland couple who met when Heather needed a liver transplant (Chris, a complete stranger, heard of her story and agreed to be tested; he was found to be a perfect match and donated part of his liver), and later married afterwards.


Heather Krueger, a nursing student, begins feeling ill. She is diagnosed with Stage 4 autoimmune hepatitis and needs a liver transplant. However, the large number of transplant patients on the list will make it unlikely for her to find a donor, and none of her family are a match.

While working at a Christmas tree farm (owned by Heather's cousin, Jack), Chris Dempsey (a recently discharged Marine) overhears the need. He decides to have himself tested; to everyone's surprise he is found to be a perfect match for Heather. He agrees to go through with the operation, which turns out to be a complete success.

After their discharge, Chris and Heather go their separate ways. Chris decides to hold a fundraiser through his motorcycle club to help Heather with her bills. Ultimately the two reunite on Christmas Day and begin a romance.

In the next-to-last scene, one year after the events of the movie, Chris emerges from a horse-drawn carriage, and proposes to Heather.

The last scene is a picture of the real-life Heather and Chris Dempsey (who, in real life, married in 2016 and as of the movie premiere remain married).


  • Aimee Teegarden ... Heather Krueger
  • Brett Dalton ... Chris Dempsey
  • Steve Bacic ... Jack
  • Lolita Davidovich ... Judy
  • Melissa Marie Elias ... Jennette
  • Heidi Felik ... Audrey
  • Danika Frederick ... Sadie
  • Micheline Marchildon ... Rosa
  • Darren Martens ... Andy
  • Beverly Ndukwu ... Nurse Rachel
  • Cassandra Potenza ... Ashley Krueger
  • Martin Roach ... Dr. Jenkins
  • Nancy Sorel ... Kathy Krueger
  • Ray Strachan ... Hotel Manager
  • Chris Shields ... Distinguished Partner
  • Tom Zimerly ... Bill Krueger

Differences between the film and real life

  • In the film Heather is first diagnosed with a liver disease requiring a transplant. In real life she had known of her disease for two years, but her health worsened until the miraculous transplant.
  • In the film Chris is a recently discharged marine working for Jack at a Christmas tree farm. In real life Chris had long been discharged, and he and Heather's cousin (name not specified) were both city employees for the Village of Frankfort, Illinois (a Chicago suburb).
  • In the film Chris and Heather briefly meet at a bar (after each of their dates go poorly), before Chris discovers he's a match. In real life Chris and Heather had never met before the match.
  • In the film Chris and Heather part ways after the operation before reuniting. In real life they continued to see each other, during which time their romance blossomed.

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