Motorcyclists Help WNY Heart Transplant Patients

July 18, 2008

Organizers of the first “Bike Ride for Heart Transplant” invite motorcycle enthusiasts to take to the road this July to raise funds for heart failure and transplant patients in western New York.

The event is being held in memory of LeeAnne Orzechowski, a Lackawanna Senior High School graduate who received a heart transplant at the University of Rochester Medical Center in March 2004 when she was 21. She died in October 2005 at 23.

Family friend and West Seneca resident Gina Nelligan, whose daughter, Jennifer Lind, was best friends with LeeAnne, is coordinating the fundraiser. Nelligan witnessed first-hand the care LeeAnne received from the URMC Program in Heart Failure and Transplantation, and was aware of transplant patients who sometimes require emergency assistance for necessities they have difficulty affording. Proceeds from the “Bike Ride for Heart Transplant” will benefit such patients through the hospital’s Patient Care fund, which provides emergency funding for patients and families and may someday be used to develop a hospitality house for adult critical care patients and their families.

“We wanted to do something to honor the memory of LeeAnne,” Nelligan said. “This is a way to give back to the program that gave her extra time with the people who loved her, and we know she’d be happy about this.”

The ride will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at the Blue Wall Bar, 2720 Seneca St., West Seneca. The group will head to the Milestone in Chaffee for a light snack, then will ride back to the Blue Wall for a buffet dinner and drinks, as well as live music by the band “All Jacked Up.” It is a 60-mile roundtrip.

Tickets are $30 per motorcycle and nonbikers. Tickets will be sold in advance and also the day of the event. Call (716) 715-4043 or (716) 812-0209 for information.

The University of Rochester Medical Center Program in Heart Failure and Transplantation is the largest program in upstate New York and western New York’s only comprehensive heart failure and transplant service. It is a national leader in research efforts to further the treatment of heart failure and return patients that suffer from heart failure to healthy and productive lives. To learn more about the program, log on to www.urmc.edu.

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