Students win scholarships for raising awareness about organ and tissue donation

Sparta. The Betsy Niles Scholarship Fund announces its winners for 2020, Morgan Krempasky and Emily Scranton.

28 Sep 2020 | 05:30

Sparta. The NJ Sharing Network Foundation recently awarded scholarships to two high school graduates for their dedication to raising awareness of organ and tissue donation.

These scholarships are made possible by several of the Foundation’s family and partner funds. The Betsy Niles Scholarship Fund was created in memory of Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Niles, a lifelong Montclair, N.J., resident who died in 2011. It awards scholarships to recognize graduating high school seniors whose lives have been touched by organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

Dan Sarnowski of Sparta, Betsy’s loving companion, established the fund in 2014. Sarnowski and Niles’ family decided the best way to honor Betsy was through supporting education programs. Betsy’s Dash, one of NJ Sharing Network’s most-prominent 5K Celebration of Life teams, has raised nearly $100,000 since its inception. Betsy’s daughter, Ali Niles, has also been the top finisher in her age group almost every year.

“Betsy was known for always giving the perfect gift for every occasion and her last gift was the greatest gift of all -- the gift of life,” said Sarnowski, who serves as treasurer of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation’s Board of Trustees and Betsy’s Dash 5K Team Captain. “I feel it’s a perfect tribute to Betsy to have a fund and a scholarship program in her honor.”

This year’s scholarship winners are Morgan Krempasky and Emily Scranton.

Morgan, a 2020 graduate of Hillsborough High School, received a tissue transplant to repair a torn ligament in her ankle. The transplant has enabled Morgan to continue a healthy and active lifestyle in helping to lead her high school volleyball team. Morgan has made it her personal mission to support NJ Sharing Network by organizing school-wide volleyball fundraisers and other awareness events in her community. Morgan plans to attend the University of Miami in the Fall.

Emily, a 2020 graduate of Manasquan High School, was first inspired to advocate for organ and tissue donation after her close friend passed away and his tissue donation helped improve the life of others in need. Emily has served as president of her school’s Donate Life Club and has spearheaded bake sales, fundraisers and other activities to educate her classmates about donation. Emily plans to attend DeSales University.

A lifelong resident of Montclair, Betsy Niles spent most of her career in educational publishing and was passionate about helping to improve the education system. On March 30, 2011, Niles died after accident. Her organ and tissue donations touched the lives of over three dozen people, including a life-saving kidney transplant for one recipient.

The application process was completed in June. For more information email scholarship@njsharingnetwork.org.