WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — United Regional hosted a fundraiser Thursday evening that was emceed by our very own Tobin McDuff.

Heart of the Community benefits cardiovascular services at the hospital.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, with one person dying an average of every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here in Wichita County, heart disease remains a vital challenge, but Thursday’s keynote speaker Simon Keith says don’t give up.

“Yeah, I like to support the United Regional Fund Foundation, and my message is: Don’t waste a minute,” Keith said. “Let’s go go go go, do it today, and I’m just happy to share that message.”

Keith is the first person in the world to play a professional sport after undergoing a heart transplant.

He received the heart of a 17-year-old Welsh boy in 1986 when Keith was 21. The story has been well chronicled, including in an ESPN E:60 feature, “A Change of Heart.”

After the heart transplant, Keith resumed his soccer career at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, earning many honors over the next two seasons. After his senior season, he was named the MVP at the Senior Bowl and drafted number one overall into the Major Indoor Soccer League just three years after his surgery.

Now a world-renowned speaker, Keith shares his remarkable story with audiences around the world, challenging people to find their “moments of truth” and daring them to live.