Bill Sweet Remembered Through Walk/Run

Fund-raiser to benefit Strong Memorial Hospital's Organ Transplant Program

September 17, 2001

The first Bill Sweet Memorial Walk/Run will be held Sept. 22 at Genesee Valley Park. Proceeds will benefit the Organ Transplant Program at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Sweet was the first Rochester-area resident to receive a heart transplant 19 years ago. He and his wife traveled to California for the surgery because it was not widely available. Subsequently, he had a second heart transplant, survived a bout with cancer and underwent triple bypass surgery. He was the first person in the world to have bypass surgery of a second transplanted heart, performed by George L. Hicks Jr., M.D., at Strong Memorial Hospital.

A longtime Friends of Strong volunteer, Sweet was a familiar face at Strong Memorial Hospital.

"To know Bill, one would never guess all he had gone through," says Friends of Strong Director Louise Criticos. "An optimist in the truest sense of the word, he never complained and was always smiling broadly."

Criticos says Sweet remained active, even when not feeling well. He volunteered in the patient discharge area at Strong Memorial and participated in the Mended Hearts support group and TRIO (Transplant Recipients International Organization). He is considered a great role model for others and was the recipient of the Friends of Strong DOVE award several years ago, which is awarded to an individual who has performed above and beyond the call of duty. Recipients are nominated by volunteers or a supervisor.

The Bill Sweet Memorial Walk/Run begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at Genesee Valley Park. The course is 3 miles long. Participants may register by calling Friends of Strong Coordinator of Special Events Joanie Clancy at (716) 275-2420. Registration the day of the event is from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

For Media Inquiries:
Karin Christensen
(585) 275-1311
Email Karin Christensen