Generous Motorcyclists to Raise Funds for Heart Transplant Patients

Aug. 2, 2009

transplant, hearts, heart failure

Organizers of the second annual “Bike Ride for Heart Transplant” invite motorcycle enthusiasts to take to the road Sept. 19 to raise funds for heart failure and transplant patients in upstate 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 the Harbor House of Rochester, a home-away-from-home for patients and families who travel from across New York state and northern Pennsylvania to receive care at URMC.

“We are expecting an even greater turnout that last year, as we honor the memory of LeeAnne,” Nelligan said. “Giving back to the transplant program that gave her extra time on this earth, helping patients just like her, I know would make her happy and proud.”

The 60-mile ride will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Blue Wall Bar, 2720 Seneca St., West Seneca. The group will head to the Milestone in Chaffee, then back to the Blue Wall for food and drinks, as well as live music by the band “Dirty Murphy.”

Tickets are $25 each. The price includes food and draft beer or soda. There will be an auction, 50/50 raffles and door prizes. Tickets will be sold in advance and also the day of the event. Call (716) 715-4043 for information.