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Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus has recognized Kelly Krzyzak as the Citizen of the Month Award recipient for December.
Krzyzak, a Town of Wallkill resident, is a dedicated volunteer with the Donate Life Group of Orange County and works as an advocate for LiveOnNY, a non-profit, federally designated organ procurement organization for the greater New York Metropolitan area. She is also a heart transplant recipient.
“Kelly has been a tireless advocate for awareness about organ donation in Orange County,” Neuhuas said. “She is a wonderful spokesperson for LiveOnNY and has her own inspirational story to share about organ donation. Kelly’s experience has been difficult and she is using it to do good for others. She is a resilient woman with an incredible outlook on life and I’m proud to recognize her.”
Krzyzak was at work in February of 2015 when she began to feel uncomfortable. She went home, where she experienced chest pains and vomiting, before being taken by ambulance to a local hospital. She was stabilized there, then airlifted to Westchester Medical Center the following day.
Krzyzak had suffered a heart attack, after which she suffered two strokes and consequently slipped into a coma, even though she’d had no prior issues or risk factors. She underwent a successful heart transplant in March of 2016 and is now healthy.
“Without organ donations, I would not be here today,” Krzyzak said. “It has given me purpose serve the community and help those in need. Volunteering for organizations like LiveOnNY, I am able to share my story and show everyone in my community that need the same help that I needed, there is hope, and for the others, to start helping and become a donor. I am truly honored to be recognized by Orange County Executive, Steve Neuhaus, for citizen of the month.”
Krzyzak thanked Neuhaus and County Clerk Annie Rabbitt for their help in raising awareness about organ donation. Krzyak provides literature and information about organ donation at County naturalization ceremonies. She also performs outreach to the community at a variety of events and functions. Krzyzak and Donovan, her husband of 26 years, have two children, Ashlyn 24, and Noah, 19.
According to LiveOnNY, New York ranks 50th in the nation in percent of residents who are registered organ donors. Only 32 percent of New Yorkers are registered as organ donors, but more than 90 percent support organ donation. One organ donor can save up to eight lives and one tissue donor can improve the lives of up to 50 people.
More than one million lifesaving and life-improving tissue and corneal transplants are performed each year. It only takes a few minutes to sign a donor form, and that decision can save a life. Anyone over the age of 16 can register to be a donor. For more information about organ donation, go to the Donate Life Group of Orange County’s website: donatelifegroupoc.org.
Neuhaus introduced his Citizen of the Month Award, which acknowledges outstanding Orange County residents, in January of 2017. To nominate someone for the Citizen of the Month Award, please email [email protected] or mail a letter to “Citizen of the Month” at 255-275 Main Street Goshen, N.Y. 10924. Be sure to include the nominee’s name, hometown, a list of their accomplishments, why you are nominating them and any other pertinent information.
For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or [email protected].