This Thing Called Life
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:

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 04- 40 year anniversary of LifeCenters Mission with Barry Massa

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 04- 40 year anniversary of LifeCenters Mission with Barry Massa

April 6, 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.

In this episode, Andi talks with Life Center Executive Director, Barry Massa about the 40 year anniversary of Life Center.

Resources:

https://lifepassiton.org/

Episode 17: The Gift of Eye and Tissue Donation with Robert Winter

Episode 17: The Gift of Eye and Tissue Donation with Robert Winter

March 30, 2021

During episode 17 of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson speaks with Robert Winter, a man that has worked in the field of eye and tissue donation for over twenty-five years. Though it’s difficult, Robert and his team do their best to comfort grieving families while educating them on the benefits of donating!

 

Episode Highlights: 

  • There is a lot of misinformation about organ donation that exists because of a mistrust of the healthcare system.
  • Robert has been in the field of tissue donation for over twenty-five years.
  • The medical field has been a strong interest of Robert’s for his entire life because it provides the opportunity to help people.
  • Robert has noticed that everyone in his field shares a common interest in wanting to make a positive difference.
  • The most life-saving gift for tissue donation is one of the human-skin graphs for burn victims.
  • Jason Schechterle suffered third and fourth-degree burns as a police officer in Phoenix when his car exploded after getting hit.
  • The details of Jason’s survival came down to seconds of circumstances and now he shares his story all over the country.
  • Hearing the stories of burn victims and survivors gives people perspective on just how important tissue donation is.
  • Danny Happy suffered his burn injuries as a ten-year-old and spent months in acute care, receiving over two-hundred feet of skin that saved his life.
  • Robert and his team are approaching families on one of the worst days of their lives.
  • Being able to express that tissue donations are going to help someone down the road is necessary when talking to families that have lost a loved one.
  • Families who have lost a loved one are burdened with making a lot of decisions and dealing with the decisions of their loved one.
  • The knowledge that their loved one is going to save someone’s life brings some sort of comfort to grieving families.
  • There are many stories of competitive athletes being able to return to their respective sports as a result of tissue donations.
  • AlloSource acts as step two of a three-step process by preparing tissue donations to be used in a surgical environment. 
  • A disconnect exists between medical practitioners and the origin of tissue donations for their patients.
  • Great joy can be brought to donor families by hearing back from those that have received the donation.
  • It’s very challenging to deal with families who have gone through an extreme loss on a day-to-day basis.
  • Sometimes, families refuse to donate regardless of the fact that their loved one made the decision to do so.
  • Robert finds that knowing that people’s lives are being saved and dramatically improved is the most rewarding part of his industry.
  • Focusing on the recipients and the donor families makes it easy for Robert to love his job.
  • The goal of organ and tissue donation must be to educate as many people as possible.

3 Key Points:

  1. Burn patients are very susceptible to infection and thermal regulation, making human-skin graphs incredibly vital to their survival.
  2. Jason Schechterle and Danny Happy are both motivational speakers who survived their burn injuries as a result of life-saving tissue donation.
  3. One of the difficulties with expressing the benefits of tissue donation to grieving families is that it could be a long time before the positive effects are felt from the donation.

Resources Mentioned:

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 03- All things Kidneys with Lincoln Ware

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 03- All things Kidneys with Lincoln Ware

March 23, 2021

Andi and Lincoln talk about National Kidney Donation Month on WDBZ 

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://www.facebook.com/LifeCenterOH 

513-558-5555

Episode 16: Is Living Organ Donation The Best Option? With Dr. Madison Cuffy

Episode 16: Is Living Organ Donation The Best Option? With Dr. Madison Cuffy

March 16, 2021

During episode 16 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. March is national kidney month!

 

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 02

This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 02

March 9, 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.  

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