LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A former state representative is sharing his experience with heart failure in hopes of helping others.

Dwight Butler spent two decades in the Kentucky legislature serving District 18. The Republican, who served Breckinridge and Hancock counties, along with parts of Bullitt, Daviess, and Hardin counties, says he lived a healthy lifestyle. But in 2018 he was diagnosed with heart failure.

Butler received a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) while he awaited a heart transplant. On November 21, 2019, his birthday, he received his new heart.

Now a year after his surgery, he's doing well and wants people to know the warning signs of heart failure, like shortness of breath and fatigue. He also wants people to wear their masks during the pandemic to keep others safe.

"I encourage everyone just to think about someone who does have an immune suppression problem or an older person because that is who you are affecting," said Butler.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. December 5 is National Heart Failure Patient and Caregiver Day.

Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.