Keep your heart healthy

The number one killer in the United States for both men and women is heart disease.

Coming in at third is stroke.

Hannibal Regional Hospital held a Heart Walk to raise money for cardiovascular disease Saturday.

Ten and a half years ago, Linda Horner became short of breath.

"I went to the doctor and he told me I had two weeks left to live, that my heart was enlarged. The only symptom I had was I was tired," said Horner.

She was on her way to St. Louis when...

Horner said, "A flock of ducks hit my air evac helicopter, injured the pilot, the doors flew open, windshield came out and a duck landed on my heart," said Horner.

A duck, she would later see in hindsight, as a sign of hope for her recovery.

At Saturday's walk, she and dozens more donned the red American Heart Association hats which symbolize heart transplant survivors. And heart disease does not discriminate.

Matt Padberg with the American Heart Association says, "if you have a family member that has had a heart attack, or had a bi-pass surgery, all those kinds of things are involved in cardiovascular disease and stroke."

But Horner's story wasn't quite over.

"We come to find out that the moment the duck came into my arms was the moment they let my heart donor go. She was a 28 year old mother with 4 little children and her nickname was her momma's baby duck," said Horner. "It just means the world to think that they gave their gift of life to me, and to all of the heart donors. We really appreciate all the love they've given to give other people life."

Cardiovascular disease claims almost 19,000 lives a year in Missouri.

If you'd like to become an organ donor, talk to your family and make sure your state ID designates you're a donor.