BY SANCHALI SINGH
A prominent Floral Park couple were honored last Thursday for their work with Hearts for Russ, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about organ donations, at its seventh annual awards event.
William and Ann Corbett were awarded the Donor Family Award for their own experiences in organ donating. After William, a former associate village justice for Floral Park and a vice president of the Nassau County Magistrates Association, began experiencing kidney failure in his late 70s, his wife, Ann, donated a kidney when it didn’t seem likely that he would receive one from an organ donor.
“I can’t thank her enough for her love and kindness and generosity,” Corbett said of his wife during his acceptance speech.
The Hearts for Russ nonprofit was created by family members to honor Russ Housman, a Garden City native who died in 2013 due to an unsuccessful heart transplant. A long wait for a heart donation contributed to his death, and the Housman family said it wanted to help people avoid “the pain and suffering of losing someone when it could have been prevented with more awareness and research surrounding the cause,” according to the group’s website.
Since its founding in 2014, Hearts for Russ has worked to support patients and families undergoing transplants and nonprofit organizations that contribute to increasing organ donor registration in New York state. Hearts for Russ also partners with other organ donor organizations like LI TRIO, Harboring Hearts, Donate Life and Northwell Health to further the cause.
Traditionally a golf event followed by an awards dinner, the Hearts for Russ awards event this year was broadcast online through Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“It’s not safe to do this gathering in person,” said Doug Housman, president of the organization and brother of Russ. “We’re hoping we can reach out to more people because we’re doing it through Zoom.”
The organization’s board also selected Olympic snowboarder Chris Klug for the recipient award and Dr. Robert A. Montgomery, chairman of surgery at NYU Langone Health, for its physician award.
Housman concluded the event by announcing that $37,000 had been raised. The organization will disseminate the donations at the end of the year once the grant process is completed.