The latest New Yorker of the Week has donated a piece of herself to Mount Sinai Hospital and today still continues to give her time. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
The song is called "Bill." It's the one melody that volunteer Susie Hochenberg always plays inside the lobby at Mount Sinai Hospital.
It's a nod to her husband William, a former patient there. In 2013, Susie didn't hesitate to donate a kidney to her spouse of 30 years.
"I couldn’t think of life without him. It would just be unbearable," she says. "The kidneys saved his life, and William on other occasions has saved my life, so it's really paying back all the good things that he's brought to my life."
Now, Susie pays it forward to other patients at the Mount Sinai Transplantation Institute. She donates her time by raising awareness about organ donations and providing comfort to patients using a blend of music and art.
"I feel the rest of my life, as long as I can get up and do things, that I will give back to Mount Sinai," she says.
The Manhattan native shares her skills with those staying at the institute, painting watercolors and creating greeting cards.
The time with Susie brushes away negative thoughts and lifts spirits.
"'Live as if you were to die tomorrow and learn as if you were to live forever,'" says patient Wellny Volmar, reading a greeting card. "And I felt that it was kind of speaking to me."
"It gives me something to do, not to feel bored, you know, stressed out, especially in a hospital," says patient Mark Morales.
Susie has touched the lives of hundreds of New Yorkers. And the hospital recently recognized her as its volunteer of the year.
"This is somebody who made one of the greatest gifts somebody can make, to give another person literally a part of themselves. And not only does she give her husband her kidney, but she also comes back and gives us her time and shows other patients that there's hope," says Dr. Sandy Florman, director of the Mount Sinai Transplantation Institute.
So, for inspiring patients to envision a brighter future, Susie Hochenberg is our New Yorker of the Week.