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Teenage stroke victim coordinates fundraiser for American Heart Association

By Staff | Nov 8, 2010

Megan Lucker holds the poster that she made for Heart Drive, which continues through Saturday at Bailey's General Store.

When she was 14 years old, Megan Lucker was just another kid who woke up one morning, feeling your average, teenage pre-test jitters as she was planning to take the math portion of her FCAT later that day.

Lucker, a resident of Sanibel, still has trouble remembering the full details of that day and can tell you about it, based on what others have told her had happened. But she definitely remembers that her coordination was “off.”

She texted a friend during breakfast with her family when she noticed that her fingers weren’t hitting the buttons that she intended, and that her vision had gotten blurry. She then told her father that she wasn’t feeling well, but wanted to go to school because of the test. Her father asked her to call him if she felt worse.

What happened at school is what she really struggles to remember.

“I think I fell over at some point, “ she recalled.

Some of the 20 volunteers who showed up at Bailey's General Store last Saturday in support of the Heart Drive.

Shortly after that, her dad picked her up and took her to the walk-in clinic on Sanibel. The staff urged them to go to the hospital. There, they had been told that Megan had suffered a stroke.

After several blood tests, the doctors determined that Megan had thrombophilia, which causes abnormal blood clotting. More tests to determine genetic causes and a heart valve closure procedure later, Megan is now a healthy 16-year-old who was lucky to have survived this ordeal with no complications or life-long disabilities.

So, what is she doing now? She’s raising money and awareness for a cause that many are not so lucky to survive.

“We figured that since we’re healthy, it’s our responsibility to help raise money and awareness,” Lucker said.

Last Saturday, Lucker launched an eight-day fundraising campaign at Bailey’s General Store to help raise money for the American Heart Association’s Heart Drive. All money raised between Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 will go to heart and stroke research and to supply the Fort Myers Police Department officers with life saving, automated external defibrillator devices (AEDs).

Richard Johnson, general manager of Bailey's General Store, has been very supportive of Megan Lucker's work on behalf of the American Heart Association.

“Every year, the American Heart Association holds a Heart Walk as a fundraiser,” said Lucker. “I know that in the spring, Bailey’s sells shamrocks to help raise money for them, so I thought about selling hearts as a way to raise some more money.”

The Sanibel School’s Junior National Honor Society and the Sanibel Community Church’s H2O Youth Group pitched in by bagging groceries for the cause.

“We’re asking customers to give whatever they can,” Megan’s mother, Jodi, reported. “On Saturday, somebody gave us $100 for one of them. In this economy, it’s really tough to ask somebody for more than $1.”

In the first day alone, the heart-sellers at Bailey’s General Store raised more than $725. Lucker is hoping that, with a few more days left in her campaign, even more residents and visitors of the islands will dig deep and contribute to the fundraiser.

“People have been so generous,” said Lucker. “It just goes to show you what a wonderful community we live in.”

Bailey’s General Store is located on the corner of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road. They are open daily from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.