This Thing Called Life
This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 09: 40 Years of Saving Lives, an Interview with Liz Bonis on WKRC

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 09: 40 Years of Saving Lives, an Interview with Liz Bonis on WKRC

June 15, 2021

Melissa Armstrong and Andi Johnson join Liz Bonis for an interview on What’s Happening In Health that airs every Sunday on WKRC TV.  This interview focuses on the 40 year anniversary celebration and the planting of live trees at Mt. Echo Park creating the Path of Life. Melissa shares her story of her battle with a genetic kidney disease and how long she has been waiting for a kidney.  We all can learn something from this very powerful message.

 

Community Heroes is a special extension of This Thing Called Life’s podcast. In this series we talk to community leaders, share important information about organ and tissue donation and honor those who have been instrumental in saving lives through the gift of donation.

 

Resources: 

https://lifepassiton.org/ 

https://lifepassiton.org/who-we-are/leadership/ 

https://www.facebook.com/LifeCenterOH 

513-558-5555

Episode 22: A Family’s Journey That Comes Full Circle

Episode 22: A Family’s Journey That Comes Full Circle

June 8, 2021

During episode 22 of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson talks to Audrey Holtzman, Diversity Outreach and Educator Associate at LifeCenter. Audrey is educating high school kids about organ donations so that they can make an informed decision.

Episode Highlights: 

  • Audrey is working with LifeCenter as a Diversity Outreach and Educator Associate and recently celebrated her second work anniversary with LifeCenter. 
  • When students get ready to get their driver’s license, that is when they decide if they are going to register as a donor. 
  • Audrey wishes to empower young people just to be the best they can be. 
  • She came to know about organ donation through her brother Henry. Henry had an accident while riding his bike. 
  • Sadly, Henry suffered severe head injuries and was in ICU with a life support system. Her sister-in-law told Audrey that he was a registered donor.
  • The doctors asked Audrey’s mother’s permission to recover Henry’s organs as he was a registered organ donor, and it was his decision.
  • The fondest memory of Henry for Audrey is the way he interacted with his friends and the way he loved being a teacher. 
  • Donation is not a topic that people talk about, which makes her job in high school more crucial because it is a conversation the community needs to have to help save lives.
  • Henry saved the lives of 8 people with his choice to donate his organs.
  • It is a personal choice to be a donor but people need to have the clear and correct information. 
  • More conversations about donation and also about the process will help encourage people to be willing to register as organ donors.
  • Audrey says, “We do a great job here at LifeCenter to walk our families through the whole process even when we know they are grieving. “
  • Andi says it is important to have the conversation with our family members so that if something happened suddenly, the family would know what to do. 
  • When  talking to leaders of different communities and asking what their faith believes about donation, not a single one of them said no we don’t believe in donation because if it is as a gift, it is not against our religion.
  • People just need to take a moment to look into the information and get to know what it means, and that could remove apprehension about being able to do something beautiful.

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Audrey shares about her life journey. She was born in Liberia, West Africa came to America at the age of thirteen, and in 2016 received American citizenship. Before joining LifeCenter she was a registered organ donor, and it’s been about 10 years now. 
  2. When it comes to organ donation, parents have both cultural and religious thinking. There is a lot of helpful information to consider about being able to donate. 
  3. Andi asks about Audrey’s experience while working in this field, being immersed in the community and talking to people about donation, especially in the community of color and the areas where people are poor and underserved. She inquires “What stood out to talk to them about the donation?”

 

Resources Mentioned:

This  Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 08- The Path Of Life, For Those Who Donated

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 08- The Path Of Life, For Those Who Donated

June 1, 2021

The Path Of Life, For Those Who Donated

Andi joins Radio One’s Lincoln Ware for a conversation about The Path Of Life at Mount Echo park that honors 40 years of Organ Eye, and Tissue Donation.  This episode also honors the Nurses in our community for the service they provide.

Community Heroes is a special extension of This Thing Called Life’s podcast. In this series we talk to community leaders, share important information about organ and tissue donation and honor those who have been instrumental in saving lives through the gift of donation 

Resources: 

https://lifepassiton.org/ 

https://lifepassiton.org/who-we-are/leadership/ 

https://www.facebook.com/LifeCenterOH 

513-558-5555

Episode 21: A Families Mission to Find A Kidney with Robert Wilder

Episode 21: A Families Mission to Find A Kidney with Robert Wilder

May 25, 2021

During episode 21 of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson talks to Robert Wilder. Robert shares his story and who he is fighting for in this season of his life. Andi reminds the listeners that our nation is in the midst of an organ shortage, and in order to minimize that, more people are needed to register for organ donation. 

Episode Highlights: 

  • Andi asks Robert to share about his beautiful, spunky, fun-loving wife and also about his family story.
  • Robert's wife developed kidney disease which pushed her to a point where she was not able to work anymore. 
  • A couple of months ago, she had a heart attack due to a lack of oxygen in her organs and instigated the need for a kidney transplant. 
  • Privacy sometimes has to do with embarrassments; some people don’t want to tell others what’s happening inside their homes. 
  • Going through mental health struggles, people don’t want to talk about that because of the stigma of appearing weak.
  • Lupus is what destroyed her kidneys, which is typical for patients with the condition.
  • Robert says his daughter is the biggest blessing for him and his wife; she lives her best life and is a rock for their family. She trusts the process.
  • His wife is now becoming healthy and bouncing back, and he is excited that she is going to be home in a few days.
  • Andi asks Robert, “When you were growing up, what was your view about donation?”
  • Their daughter is 11years old now, and he has to be strong  for her because she depends on him and his wife. There are so many responsibilities that keep Robert going in hard times.
  • Robert shares about his faith and says you must believe and try to give it up to God. 
  • They are excited for Tysha and the progress she has made with better communication.
  • Andi says his wife is a fighter, a beautiful partner, and a beautiful mother to their daughter, and she is blessed to have him as her champion.

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Robert talks about his personal journey to get his wife a kidney.
  2. Andi refers to the love and support from family and his daughter’s school friends, and what it means to him.
  3. Robert says he has learned that people genuinely  want to help if they know you need help.

Resources Mentioned:

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 07- A Mother’s Beautiful Gift To Her Daughter

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 07- A Mother’s Beautiful Gift To Her Daughter

May 18, 2021

A Mothers Beautiful Gift To Her Daughter

Tabatha Allen and her daughter Emma were featured on WKRC TV and shared this special story of a mother’s love.  

Community Heroes is a special extension of This Thing Called Life’s podcast. In this series we talk to community leaders, share important information about organ and tissue donation, and honor those who have been instrumental in saving lives through the gift of donation. 

Resources 

https://lifepassiton.org/ 

https://lifepassiton.org/who-we-are/leadership/ 

https://www.facebook.com/LifeCenterOH 

513-558-5555

Episode 20: Surviving The Death of a Child with Ickey Woods

Episode 20: Surviving The Death of a Child with Ickey Woods

May 11, 2021

During episode 20 of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson talks to Ickey Woods, a former American football player - Cincinnati Bengals Fullback. Sadly, he lost his son, Elbert Jovante Woods, 10 years ago. Now Ickey and his family are trying to make a difference in the world by educating others about organ donation and asthma. 

 

Episode Highlights: 

  • Ickey shares his story about being outside doing yard work when he received a call from home that his son, Elbert had collapsed.
  • As Ickey rushed to the spot, he saw an ambulance, and in that, they were trying to resuscitate his son. They all soon headed to the hospital.
  • The moment Ickey entered the hospital and opened the door, he saw a Chaplain. 
  • His son’s brain had been without oxygen for about 30 minutes while he was being taken to the hospital
  • Due to lack of oxygen, Jovante’s brain had started to swell, which the doctor said was not a good sign.
  • A couple of days later, in a heart-breaking turn of events, the doctor pronounced Ickey’s son as Brain Dead. Ickey and his wife decided to pull the plug. 
  • Two women from the life center visited them and informed Ickey and his wife that their son had said yes on the driver’s permit that he wanted to donate his organs.
  • Ickey had never heard anything about organ donation, and in the African American community, there aren’t many organ donors. So, he was really taken aback hearing about his son’s choice. 
  • Ickey discussed organ donation with his wife, and they mutually made their decision based on what Jovante wanted.
  • Ickey talks about the foundation that he and his family members have created in memory and honor of Jovante.
  • Through the foundation, Ickey and his wife’s goal is to educate people about asthma and organ donation. 
  • Ickey shares details about the scholarship that they provide to students through the Jovante Woods Foundation.
  • Andi asks Ickey how he coped with Jovante’s untimely demise. 
  • Ickey talks about his heart-breaking efforts to stay strong and support his family. 
  • Finally, launching the foundation in Jovante’s memory gave Ickey some direction and peace of mind. 

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Ickey Woods takes the listeners on an emotional ride while sharing details of his son’s death. He also talks about Jovante’s decision for organ donation.
  2. Jovante saved 4 lives with his organs and countless others with his tissues. Ickey felt really proud of his son and had registered himself and his family members for organ donation.
  3. Andi and Ickey talk about the misconceptions surrounding organ donation and the importance of educating people. 

 

Resources Mentioned:

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 06- Andi Johnson talks with Brian Thomas on 55KRC Cares

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 06- Andi Johnson talks with Brian Thomas on 55KRC Cares

May 4, 2021

Community Heroes is a special extension of This Thing Called Life’s podcast. In this series we talk to community leaders, share important information about organ and tissue donation and honor those who have been instrumental in saving lives through the gift of donation.

 

Resources:

https://lifepassiton.org/ 

https://lifepassiton.org/who-we-are/leadership/ 

https://www.facebook.com/LifeCenterOH 

513-558-5555

Episode 19:  How Organ Donation Has Touched My Life with Missy Holiday

Episode 19: How Organ Donation Has Touched My Life with Missy Holiday

April 27, 2021

Host Andi Johnson introduces the listeners to powerful stories about organ, eye, and tissue donations. In this episode, Andi talks to Missy Holiday, who has spent around 28 years in organ, eye, and tissue donation.

 

Episode Highlights: 

  • Andi reminds listeners that April is “National Donate Month”. This is the best month to learn about organ, life, and tissue donation.
  • Missy talks about her career path of almost three decades. She went to nursing school and had a goal to become a pediatric nurse.
  • After a couple of years, her sister had a car accident. She was air-lifted to the University of Cincinnati Hospital, where all attempts to save her life failed. 
  • Upon entering the hospital, Missy and other family members got the news that her sister’s condition was not good. 
  • As a newly graduated nurse, Missy had some exposure to donations. Missy was really young back then and she had never imagined that donation would touch her life. She couldn’t have been more wrong. 
  • After conducting several tests, the doctors informed the family that Missy’s sister was brain dead. 
  • Her family said “YES” to organ donation and this changed Missy’s career path.
  • In 1993, 2 years after her sister passed away, she joined Life Center because she wanted to be a part of the change. 
  • She wanted to change how families are approached for this rare opportunity of organ donation.
  • Joining Life Center, Missy shared her story with the leadership and raised the concern that other families might not consider donation because of how they are approached.  
  • Over the years, she has ensured that requesters at the Life Center go through very extensive training. 
  • Requesters at the Life Center make sure families have a complete understanding of their loved one’s condition. 
  • Missy joined The Life Center in 1993 when only 12-15 people worked there, and now they have 80+.
  • Families often hesitate to donate organs, either due to misconceptions or grief. 
  • When it comes to organ donation, the base myth that Missy hears the most is that - the hospital will not do everything to save his/her life if a person opts for organ donation.
  • Recently Life Center was involved in the “first-ever organ recovery”. They were able to recover a heart for transplantation from a donor, which was impossible. This donor was able to save six people. 
  • COVID does not exclude someone from becoming a donor. People working at Life Center look at every case individually. 
  • “Honor Walks” were introduced at Life Center 3 years ago. They wanted to honor the gifts and make sure that the families feel that. 
  • When it comes to work-life balance, Missy credits her husband. Her parents and kids are proud of what she does. 
  • The Life Center serves 35 hospitals in the greater Cincinnati area, and they work closely with several partners to make sure that the entire process of organ donation is respectful and supportive.  

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Missy talks about her personal experience with organ donation. Her sister had a fatal accident and after conducting several tests, was declared brain dead. Initially, the diagnosis was confusing for the family because her body was warm and other body parts were functioning. 
  2. Requesters at the Life Center ensure that empathy is central to their discussion when talking to families about donations. It is not about somebody who is in need. It is about knowing that this can comfort a family in the days and months ahead. 
  3. Life center is celebrating 40 years of serving the community and the nation. As a veteran at the Life Center, Missy talks about the most significant changes since she joined. 

Resources Mentioned:

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 05- Organ Donations impact on the Community with Sunday Morning magazine’s Rodney Lear

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 05- Organ Donations impact on the Community with Sunday Morning magazine’s Rodney Lear

April 20, 2021

Andi Johnson joins Rodney Lear on Sunday Morning Magazine discussing organ donation and Life Center's role in the community.

Community Heroes is a special extension of This Thing Called Life’s podcast. In this series we talk to community leaders, share important information about organ and tissue donation and honor those who have been instrumental in saving lives through the gift of donation.

Resources:

Episode 18: 20 Years Post Kidney Donation with Lisa Cooney

Episode 18: 20 Years Post Kidney Donation with Lisa Cooney

April 13, 2021

During episode 18 of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson interacts with Lisa Cooney – a retired anchor from WLW-TV. She shares exciting incidents from her 30+ career journey.  This Thing Called Life podcast is dedicated to share stories about acts of giving, kindness, compassion, and humanity. Andi reminds listeners that April is the perfect month to learn more about organ, eye, or tissue donation and determine how you can help others. 

 

Episode Highlights: 

  • Talking about Lisa’s media journey, Andi inquires, “While you were engaged with WLW-TV, what was your favorite story that you covered?”
  • Lisa shared a few good and bad situations, especially her coverage on organ donation.
  • She proudly shared about winning an Emmy award for covering an exciting story on Cincinnati's fire department.
  • Since Lisa has retired after a fulfilling career, Andi curiously asks, “What are you up-to-now?”
  • Lisa shared  a few fun moments from her personal life as well as professional journey.
  • She shares about her current engagement as a consultant where she teaches people how to handle media and crisis.
  • Lisa proudly talks about her kid’s achievements; She says the secret to her kid's success is hard work and dedication towards their goal.
  • They discussed the pandemic and Andi pointed out that the locked-down forced everybody to slow down and connect with family members.
  • Andi talked about organ donation and what emotional turmoil the donor and receiver go through.
  • Hearing that, Lisa shared like any other first-time donor, she too was scared but decided to take the plunge.
  • She proudly shares about her family’s support and how they recently celebrated the day with a kidney-shaped cake.
  • Andi inquired, "What would you say to someone who is considering to be a living kidney donor?"

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Lisa Cooney shares a life-changing incident about organ donation that happened 20 years ago.
  2. Not everything on the internet is true, do not take it as gospel, seek out correct information from designated authorities.
  3. The pandemic changed everyone’s way of life, Andi and Lisa brainstorm what they have learned from it. Listeners learn about how they adjusted, respected each other’s comfort zone, and looked at the positive side of it.

Resources Mentioned:

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