Listen to Your Heart

April 15, 2021

Local Donor’s Gift Improves Cardiac Rehab, Awareness in Lebanon

LEBANON, Mo. (April 15, 2021) – When Rhonda Plassmeyer was unusually tired on a trip to a local amusement park, she and her husband, David, had no idea her heart was sending a message for help. Unfortunately, after just a few weeks of subtle symptoms - including shortness of breath and a decrease in energy levels - Rhonda died of a cardiac event. “Rhonda was always so active.” David said. “We were a little concerned when she felt like she had to slow down a bit, but I would have never guessed her heart was struggling.”


David and Rhonda Plassmeyer David and Rhonda Plassmeyer

In fact, women often show subtle symptoms of potential heart issues, which can often be misinterpreted as other, less serious health conditions. “In women, cardiac distress can often manifest itself as fatigue or flu-like symptoms for weeks or months before a serious cardiac event,” said Dr. Dawn Barker, Lebanon primary care physician. “Women, especially, tend to prioritize their family’s needs first, so they are more likely to ignore a subtle change in health. I always encourage my patients to really listen to their bodies and speak up when they aren’t feeling well. It may not be anything to worry about, but if it is, let’s identify the problem quickly—early detection of heart trouble saves lives.”

While David wishes he could have enjoyed many more years with his beloved wife, he wanted to help others in her honor. He recently donated $10,000 to Mercy Health Foundation - Lebanon to help fund VersaCare, a state-of-the-art monitoring system, which helps patients recovering from a cardiac event. He hopes his gift will provide better outcomes and higher quality of life for others diagnosed with heart disease.

For more information on cardiac rehab or to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician, please visit mercy.net.  If you’d like to join David by making a donation to Mercy Health Foundation - Lebanon, visit mercyhealthfoundation.net/lebanon or call 417-533-6192.