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American Heart Association food truck fundraiser helping out a TCSO employee

It is a story of perseverance about somebody having to rely on a machine to pump blood throughout their body, something that one Merkel woman has had to face every day.

Sheila Pinkston, who is a warrant secretary at the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, has had to face this obstacle for 14 years.

Sheila has a mechanical heart that pushes blood throughout her body and to her organs, ultimately keeping her alive.

In 2004, Sheila was diagnosed with a heart condition and in 2013, she was informed that she would need a heart transplant, which she is still waiting to receive.

“It’s called an LVAD, a Left Ventricular Assist Device. I have a motor underneath my ribs, I don't have a heartbeat or a pulse," said Shelia when talking about her mechanical heart.

However, the device is not slowing Sheila down, who farms, drives a tractor and works a 40-hour week at the Taylor County Sheriff's Office, all with a mechanical heart.

Troy Pinkston, Sheila’s husband, said that anyone who knows her knows that she is full of spirit and always on the move.

"She doesn’t require a whole lot of prodding to get her to go, she prods me to make me go,” added Troy.

On Wednesday afternoon, Sheila, along with many of her fellow employees, came together outside of the Taylor County Law Enforcement Center in Abilene for the third annual "Food for the Heart" fundraiser.

Food trucks joined “fork and knife” with the Abilene community to support the American Heart Association, with a portion of the proceeds from the event going to the American Heart Association in the hopes of raising money for technology, medical care and hopefully one day, a cure for heart disease.

“The City of Abilene, is full of love, caring and supportive people," stated Sheila. “Don’t give up and with God’s faith, just don’t give up.”

Anybody that was not able to make it out to Wednesday's fundraiser is invited to attend the American Heart Association's Heart Walk on October 6 in support of Sheila and the American Heart Association.

The walk will start at 9:30 a.m. and will be held at Nelson Park in Abilene.

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