"I just kind of assumed I would sort of be that quintessential little old lady walking around with her little oxygen tank," she said. "I never thought of myself as having to be a transplant recipient."
But a week after doctors put her on the transplant list, the phone rang. She had a heart.
The surgery lasted five and a half hours, but she woke up and felt "like a new person." It was the first time in two months she was able to breathe normally.
"It makes me realize there's so much truth in the statement of 'paying it forward,'" she said. "In 1997, when I decided to donate my husband's organs, I had absolutely no idea, would not even fathom the thought that, years down the road, I would find myself in that exact situation of needing a heart."
Now, she runs simply because she can. She says her donor allowed her to do something she never thought possible, so she doesn't say, "I ran seven half marathons," she says, "We ran seven half marathons."
Four months after her transplant, Wild ran her first 5K. And on Sunday, four years after the transplant, she ran her first full marathon, called Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans.
"I can't explain it. I felt like I was being carried," she said. "Words cannot describe the feeling of accomplishment I have after finishing this marathon, especially because there were some people that doubted the fact that I could do this -- including myself at times in the past."
It took her six hours and 36 minutes because a virus kept her from training for 23 days before the race, but she finished.
"It was absolutely the most incredible day of my life," she said.