This Thing Called Life
Episode 30: Leaders Driving Awareness Of Kidney Donation with Debbie Hayes

Episode 30: Leaders Driving Awareness Of Kidney Donation with Debbie Hayes

September 28, 2021

During this episode of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson talks to Debbie Hayes. She is a healthcare leader in Cincinnati, and specifically she leads a number one ranked hospital in the Cincinnati region. Tune in to hear her experiences and perspective on kidney donation.

 

Episode Highlights: 

  • Debbie began as a nurse at Christ Hospital. She worked her way up to being CEO, also led the Board of Directors at LifeCenter Organ Donor Network for 9-10years. 
  • She started her career 34 years ago as a student nurse aide. The one thing that always amazed her about this organization is that you are given opportunities to grow and develop your talents.
  • The pandemic was one of the most challenging times in the history of healthcare, but it has also been one of the most rewarding times. Because of the extraordinary efforts of an incredible team of people working they have still kept that mission of the organization at the forefront of everything that they do despite every challenge.
  • “We are definitely grateful for all of our hospital partners throughout our service area who are able to facilitate organ, eye, and tissue donation”, says Andi.
  • Many people who have organ failures of any kind are not able to fully experience what life is all about,which is why Debbie is passionate about this.
  • Andi inquires, during the pandemic, “Did that affect patients waiting for kidney transplants at Christ Hospital?”
  • One of the trends that she has noticed during her time at the Life Center is that living kidney donation continues to increase. Debbie explains her thoughts about why we are seeing more people making that choice to be a living kidney donor.
  • Andi had the opportunity to interview a young woman who was actually waiting for a kidney, and she was listed at Christ, and she just could not say enough about what a positive experience has been with her team there.
  • There are probably a million-plus surgeries that occur in the country requiring donor tissue, which is very interesting. 
  • Andi recalls a story about  a young woman who was a volunteer and ambassador, and she has been waiting for a kidney for about three years, and unfortunately, she passed away. But she was able to be a cornea donor, and it just meant so much to her husband and young daughter. 
  • Debbie talks about who/what experience has helped shape her into the leader she has become.
  • Andi asks Debbie to give advice to someone who is just starting out in their career in healthcare and may be inspired to lead a healthcare system down the road. 

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Debbie shares how she maintains the passion for the work that she has been doing. She was recently named CEO of the Christ Hospital after serving as interim for a period of time, and just as an outsider looking in, it seems like health care leaders don’t tend to stay put with this same place for so long. She shares what it is that kept her at Christ all of this time.
  2. During the pandemic, things at the LifeCenter were quite dramatic. Debbie talks about the changes they have had to undergo during this time to attract people to sign up to be donors. 
  3. There are about 750,000 people a year in the United States that have kidney failure. If we could get a transplant for every single one of those patients when they needed it, wouldn’t that really make an impact in the United States?

 

Resources Mentioned:

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 14: Its National DMV Appreciation Month

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 14: Its National DMV Appreciation Month

September 21, 2021

Its National DMV Appreciation Month

 

This month is National DMV Appreciation Month and we want to thank and show our appreciation of our DMV partners and their dedicated employees across the country.  They are a critical component of creating awareness and registering the public to become organ and tissue donation and we want to take this time to say thank you.

 

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 29: A Lifetime Of Dealing With Kidney Disease with Karyn Frost

Episode 29: A Lifetime Of Dealing With Kidney Disease with Karyn Frost

September 14, 2021

During this episode of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson talks with Karyn Frost. This Thing Called Life introduces you to powerful stories about organ, eye, and tissue donation from individuals, families, and health care teams whose experiences will inspire you and remind you that while life is hard, unpredictable, and imperfect, but also beautiful. Tune in to hear Karyn’s story!

 

Episode Highlights: 

  • Karyn is living a very normal life. She and her husband of over 20 years just dropped off their oldest at a college. However, a part of Karyn's story has shifted some things for her.
  • At Ohio State, Karyn met her husband, Damon Frosty, who is from Cincinnati. They have two children, two daughters, one as Andy mentioned, is a freshman at Tennessee State University in Nashville and the second one is a junior in high school at Indian Hill High School.
  • When Karyn was a sophomore in college, she was diagnosed with lupus. It can impact many different organs in the body, and she was lucky enough that lupus impacted her kidneys. 
  • Karyn's kidneys were not functioning properly, but they weren't terrible or in need of dialysis or a transplant; It was just one of those situations where they said, "we are going to watch this." 
  • Andi asks, "Did your doctor at that time talk about the possibility of needing a transplant at some point?" 
  • Andi inquires, "You mentioned a family history of diabetes. Did anyone in your family ever need a kidney transplant because of diabetes?" Karyn affirms, her father received a kidney donation 15 years ago. It lasted for about five years, and then he had to go back on dialysis, but he did receive a kidney transplant. 
  • There are a lot of things you have to do after you receive a transplant which some are not prepared for. There are other people who can't get a transplant for financial reasons because that is a big part of it. You have to be able to afford the medication, and Medicare doesn't cover everything.
  • Karyn has been on dialysis since May 2018, and honestly, she should have been on dialysis since 2016 because that is when her doctor noticed that her blood work in her physical exams and the biopsies indicated that she needed to start dialysis.
  • When you have a certain level of toxins in your body, your body just decides if your kidneys can't get rid of it, we are going to get rid of it one way or another, says Karyn.
  • Karyn has a lot of people around to support her; between immediate and extended family and people in organizations that she is a part of.
  • Most of the people on the kidney and organ donation lists who are waiting for transplants are people of color. So, we need to have the organizations that were part of be supportive and joining the fight, says Karyn.
  • Karyn has heard people say that they are not going to save her because they want her organs. She is interested in the statistics on how many African Americans agree when they are renewing their license to be registered. 
  • Andi asks, "Do you think that part of the issue with chronic kidney disease is that it's one of those conditions where you know it is there, but if it is not really impacting your day-to-day life?"
  • As young people, we are naturally more self-centered, and she is much more focused on helping others.
  • Karyn wanted to tell her story to get awareness for herself but also to get awareness for other people.
  • Andi asks, "If someone is interested in being tested to be your kidney donor, how might they go about that?" 

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Karyn's doctor mentally prepared her for what she was dealing with today, so it wasn't like a shock. And one day, he just said, "Hey, you are going to do dialysis. He did a good job of preparing me for it." 
  2. Karyn shares details about her body's way or your kidney's way of saying help. Her kidneys were not functioning, so all those toxins stayed in her body anytime she ate or drank anything. They weren't being filtered out.
  3. "If you could tell your younger self, having a great time at The Ohio State University and also just starting to realize that there are some medical issues that are going to be a part of your life, what would you say to that, Karyn?" asks Andi.

  

Resources Mentioned:

Episode 28: In Case You Missed It, UC Medical Center Physician Dr. Madison Cuffy joins us to discuss Living Kidney Donations

Episode 28: In Case You Missed It, UC Medical Center Physician Dr. Madison Cuffy joins us to discuss Living Kidney Donations

August 31, 2021

During this episode of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson speaks with Dr. Madison Cuffy, an Associate Professor of Surgery and the Kidney Director at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Cuffy has built trust-filled relationships with his patients throughout the years and loves nothing more than to see them live their lives to the fullest after getting their transplant. In case you missed it, tune in now!

 

Episode Highlights: 

  • Dr. Cuffy started his medical journey back in 2002 during his residency, before doing a transplant fellowship at New York Presbyterian.
  • Growing up in Brooklyn, Dr. Cuffy was first introduced to Cincinnati by Talib Kweli and Hi Tek.
  • As a 14-year-old, Dr. Cuffy was volunteering in a hospital cleaning instruments.
  • Even to this day, no one in Dr. Cuffy’s family has experience in medicine, nor any clue what a transplant surgeon does.
  • Dr. Cuffy was born in the Caribbean and grew up with his great aunt in New York.
  • One of the most common misconceptions surrounding organ donation is that the medical community will let you die.
  • After being in transplant and seeing how one can help create life during a time of despair, Dr. Cuffy became an organ donor.
  • The medical community is not out to harm organ donors for their organs, contrary to popular belief.
  • COVID has disproportionately impacted the African American community, leading to a rise in a renewed mistrust of the medical community.
  • It’s who passes on the information about medical issues like COVID that is important.
  • Despite all the concerns and misinformation that has been passed along, Dr. Cuffy highly recommends getting the COVID vaccination.
  • According to the statistics, on average, 22 people die every day waiting on an organ transplant.
  • While most of his focus is on kidney transplants, Dr. Cuffy does work with all transplant organs.
  • There is an access problem for people who need a kidney transplant and are on dialysis.
  • Over the span of a year, Dr. Cuffy performs around 70 kidney transplants.
  • During the pandemic in 2020, the transplant team was able to get recipients in and out with anyone contracting COVID.
  • Dr. Cuffy facilitates living kidney donation as the best option to treat end-stage renal disease.
  • Andi has noticed that people of color tend to shy away from sharing their donation needs with other people.
  • Socioeconomic issues and disadvantages can make it more difficult for certain patients to share their stories.
  • People who don’t want to share their stories need a donor champion to do it for them.
  • There are different forms of literacy, so Dr. Cuffy makes sure his patients know that there is no stupid question.
  • It’s important for patients to speak up about their questions to their doctor so that they don’t go get misinformation from another source.
  • If your physician is too busy to answer your questions now or in the future, you may need to find a different provider.
  • Dr. Cuffy feels rewarded by his job when he sees his patients experiencing life after their transplant.
  • His grandmother’s advice to be who he is, even when things get tough, gets Dr. Cuffy through his hard days.
  • Raised without his parents in Brooklyn, Dr. Cuffy knows first hand that you can do anything you set your mind to.
  • Dr. Cuffy has always had an extra gear that has allowed him to outwork everyone around him.
  • When he goes back to Brooklyn now, Dr. Cuffy gets a different kind of respect from the people he grew up with.
  • Dr. Cuffy thoroughly enjoys going to J. Alexanders in Cincinnati because of the sheer amount of professional African Americans that go there.

3 Key Points:

  1. While volunteering at a hospital with the hopes of staying off the streets as a 15-year-old boy, Dr. Cuffy had the opportunity to watch a kidney transplant up close, and that’s how he chose the transplant route.
  2. Unlike in other cities that have multiple transplant programs with different surgeons, Cincinnati has a single transplant program where the doctors act as one unit.
  3. Living donor kidneys last anywhere from 15 to 20 years, recipients don’t have to wait on a list to get one, and the quality is usually very good.

Resources Mentioned:

 

This Thing Called Life-Community Heroes 13: National Minority Donor Awareness Month, an interview with Lincoln Ware

This Thing Called Life-Community Heroes 13: National Minority Donor Awareness Month, an interview with Lincoln Ware

August 24, 2021

Lincoln Ware and Andi Johnson discuss Life Centers involvement in the community educating and advocating for those in need of a transplant.  This month is National Minority Awareness Month and our mission is to make sure there is accurate information about donation being discussed and the conversation is driven by facts not myths.

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 27:  Cincinnati Bengal Chris Henry’s Legacy Continues

Episode 27: Cincinnati Bengal Chris Henry’s Legacy Continues

August 17, 2021

During this episode of This Thing Called Life podcast,  host Andi Johnson talks to Carolyn Henry Glaspy- a mother, grandmother, community advocate and wife. She shares her personal story with organ, eye, and tissue donation and how her life was changed forever on December 17th, 2009.

 

Episode Highlights: 

  • August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month. It is a month-long observance to highlight organized tissue donation with respect to communities of color. People of color suffer from a higher rate of disease that often leads to them leaving transplants, particularly kidney transplants, so this is an opportunity to educate yourself and learn more about what you can do. 
  • You can register to be a donor. You can also talk with your physician about what it means to be a donor, but the most important thing is that you get the facts correct. So please visit https://lifepassiton.org/ to get more information. 
  • In 2005, hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana, and Carolyn and her family members were trapped in their home for two days. Luckily they made it out safely, but since there was no other place to go, they had to shift to Cincinnati. 
  • Since 2009, Carolyn has been a great supporter of organ donation; that was the year that her son, Chris suffered a traumatic brain injury post falling from a truck.
  • The doctors said that they did absolutely everything to save his life, but he didn't make it. 
  • Losing Chris was the hardest part of Carolyn’s life; It is a feeling that just doesn't go away. 
  • Carolyn has been a great ambassador for donations. She has been sharing her story at different events and in the community. 
  • Doctors work under oath, and their main target is to save lives. So, getting registered for organ donation won’t change a doctor’s oath.
  • People’s initial hesitation for registering for organ donation is similar to their reaction to the COVID 19 vaccine, says Andi. She asks Carolyn to tell the listeners more about Chris. 
  • Chris was totally the opposite of what the world has seen; They have seen the bad Chris Henry, but she sees a loving, kind, and giving young man who had a dream for a long time to do something with his life in the NFL. That dream came true, it is just that it came with a lot of baggage.
  • Carolyn and her family have felt the gratitude that many donor families feel. For them, just knowing that their loved one is able to live on and help others, that did bring a sense of peace. Finally, Carolyn was able to make sense of Chris’s passing.
  • No other family member would understand losing a child quite like the mother, but the realization that the child’s organ will give someone a second life is a wonderful feeling. You can also be part of that person’s life too if they are willing.
  • Carolyn shared her excitement with the listeners when she met the recipients and the family members. 
  • Before Chris’s tragic death, Carolyn had never heard about organ, eye, or tissue donation. She says, “You don’t see that on TV, you don’t see it on billboards, you don’t have a conversation about it. It almost doesn’t exist until it happens to you.” Carolyn explains why that makes it so important for people to do their part in getting educated and being proactive so that when that situation comes, they know what they want to do, and the family can honor their wishes.
  • Andi inquires about Carolyn’s involvement with  Life Center’s Donor Family Council, “Does she find it to be helpful to be around other people who have experienced a similar loss?”
  • Carolyn shares the fondest memory that she has about Chris. 
  • Andi is impressed by Carolyn’s positive attitude towards life. She asks how she managed to hold herself up after the hurricane Katrina tragedy and then later after Chris’s death.
  • Carolyn wants families to know that being an organ donor or organ tissue donor is not the last; It’s just the beginning of a new life for someone. You may or may not get to meet them, but a great feeling will fill your heart because you still have a part of your son or daughter walking around and living life.

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Carolyn clarifies the misconception about folks, especially people of color, who feels that doctors won’t do anything they can to save you if they know you’re a registered owner.
  2. Chris Henry was an American football wide receiver who played five seasons in the National Football League for the Cincinnati Bengals. He played college football at West Virginia and was drafted by the Bengals in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
  3. Carolyn shares her thoughts about her experience with the donation and with Chris becoming a donor, what she learned about organ, eye, and tissue donation.

 

Resources Mentioned:

Episode 26: Was this Kidney Donation Destined to Happen?

Episode 26: Was this Kidney Donation Destined to Happen?

August 3, 2021

During this episode of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson talks to Robin Tackett and Monica Weakley. They share from raw, personal experiences of how organ donation has touched their lives; this is a beautiful inspirational story that you don’t want to miss!

 

Episode Highlights: 

  • In 2006, Monica’s friend Katie got sick from a virus that attacked her kidney. Monica voluntarily decided to support her friend and donate her kidney. It has been 14 years since the donation both Monica and Katie are doing great. 
  • A couple of years ago, Monica realized that her mother was going through an early stage of kidney failure. She and her mom both have a rare blood group. For a moment, she felt certain that her kidney would have matched for her mother. But she kept her calm, knowing that karma was on her side.
  • Monica’s mom is 73 years old, her condition kept deteriorating, and during Covid, she was in the stage of renal failure. Her mom was reading too much information on the internet and getting misinformed.
  • One day, Monica put out a video on Facebook to friends and acquaintances asking them if they would get tested for kidney donation. The initial response was great, but as the talk progressed, people started dropping out. When the time for actual testing came, there were only a handful of people left. Finally, Robin, who got tested and was a perfect match. 
  • It is unlikely to find someone outside the family circle with such a perfect match; Monica and her mom Nancy were overwhelmed with emotion. Andi inquires, “Was there a time when your mom said no to going ahead with the surgery?” 
  • Andi shares a concern that older people often say no to kidney transplantation. 
  • Monica shares how Robin and her mom got very close when she was taking care of Robin’s dog. Her mom was relieved when she heard that a known person was donating her the kidney.
  • Andi asks, Talk about the days leading up to the transplant and how you were preparing for that. “Was there anyone in your circle or your family that said, ‘Hey, maybe you want to think this through a little bit more?” or anyone trying to dissuade you from making the decision?
  • Robin shares her situation during the pandemic, how the hospital was vacant, and the fear of getting infected. For the surgery, she said, “We checked in on Monday night to get a COVID test. Surgery was at 7:00am Tuesday morning, and I was home by 3:00pm Wednesday.”
  • Monica talks about her nervousness during the surgery and the emotional ride that her entire family took. 
  • Nancy is really grateful to Robin; She loves and appreciates her constantly. Robin shares her motivation to educate people about kidney donation. 
  • Andi asks, “How is Nancy doing these days? Is she feeling good?” She is living the life of a rock star, says Monica. But they are taking precautions because of Covid. 
  • Robin has no regret post donating her kidney; She feels it is like a badge of honor. She celebrated with them afterward!
  • There are thousands and thousands of more stories like Nancy’s, and the reality is that many people will not survive because their story didn’t end with them receiving a transplant. 
  • In the last few months, Andi has lost two friends who were waiting for kidney transplants that just did not come in time, but the other reality is that we can prevent this and have a wonderful donation experience like Robin or Monica.
  • Andi asks the listeners to visit Lifepassion.org and check out the many stories about donation. You can learn more about the people who became donors, read about the recipients who received the miraculous gifts of organ tissue and cornea donation, and how their lives have changed, and you can also read about the individuals who are living donors. 

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Monica Weakley, a kidney donor, talks about what she experienced when her own mom’s kidney failed and she had to look for donors. 
  2. Robin shares her side of the story and how people discouraged her once she got tested for kidney donation.
  3. At present, Robin is trying to raise awareness around kidney donation and educating people from her own personal experience. 

 

Resources Mentioned:

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 12- Healing Through The Gift of Tissue Donation

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 12- Healing Through The Gift of Tissue Donation

July 27, 2021

Healing through the gift of tissue donation, an interview with Lincoln Ware on WDBZ

Lincoln Ware and Andi Johnson discuss Life Centers involvement in the community educating and advocating for those in need of a transplant.  The key is making sure there is accurate information about donation being discussed and the conversation is driven by facts not myths.

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 25: INCASE YOU MISSED IT- Surviving The Death of a Child with Ickey Woods

Episode 25: INCASE YOU MISSED IT- Surviving The Death of a Child with Ickey Woods

July 20, 2021

During this episode 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 11 - The Journey Of Kidney Disease And The Impact On A Family & Community

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 11 - The Journey Of Kidney Disease And The Impact On A Family & Community

July 13, 2021

The Journey Of Kidney Disease And The Impact On A Family & Community

This week’s episode explores the journey of Mr. Todd Cade, who is in need of a kidney.  It all started over 13 years ago when Todd received a kidney donation from his brother. This episode explores the fears, relationships and struggles that occur to an individual and their family as they manage this next phase of the journey.

 

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

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