HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — Kim LaRussa has been telling the stories of Western New Yorkers for years. As the founder of Sweet Buffalo, LaRussa writes about overcoming the odds, doing the impossible, and putting others first.

“I really wanted to share goodness in Western New York and the wonderful things happening in our very own community,” said LaRussa.

Through Sweet Buffalo, LaRussa partners with western New York businesses to give back to the community. You’ve probably seen her on News 4 more than you might realize.

While she’s not writing stories and making dreams come true, LaRussa works at the Ten Lives Club, saving cats and helping them find forever homes.

LaRussa’s dual career gives her the best of both worlds.

“I love helping animals, I love helping children, I love helping people,” she said. “It’s really a great feeling to know that you found your place in the world and that you were destined to do something.”

LaRussa’s love for helping others in western New York is one reason why her mother, Patricia Menzel, nominated her.

“She’s just a very, very loving person. Anyone who knows her would say the same,” Menzel said.

The proud mom admits she is a little biased while still firmly believing her daughter is deserving of celebration.

“I see everything she does in her community and all and I just thought it would be nice for her to get a little recognition,” said Menzel.

The close relationship between the mother-daughter duo is what fueled LaRussa’s passion. It stems from her late grandmother, whose love and support never wavered.

“I think they did it so much it stuck in my brain,” LaRussa said. “I’ve gone through life thinking, ‘If I wanna do something, I’m gonna do it. I don’t care who believes in me. I have my family and they believe in me.'”

While humbled by the nomination, LaRussa says she’s grateful for the support she has received from her family, the community, and the thousands she has helped.

“This was really never about me. It’s been about everybody else, and that’s the way I want it. But to be recognized for something you’re doing, that you created, that is having an impact, it really means a lot.”

Remarkable Women 2022

Abby Fridmann is an anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in November 2020. See more of her work here.