This Thing Called Life

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This Thing Called Life is a podcast about acts of giving, kindness, compassion, and humanity. Host Andi Johnson, will introduce you to powerful stories about organ, eye, and tissue donation from individuals, families and front-line health care teams, whose experiences will hopefully inspire you and remind you, that while life is hard and unpredictable, it’s also beautiful. We hope this podcast serves as a catalyst for you to register to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor.

LifeCenter


    • Sep 14, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekly NEW EPISODES
    • 30m AVG DURATION
    • 43 EPISODES


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    Latest episodes from This Thing Called Life

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

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2021 51:29

    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: 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."  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. "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: LifeCenter | website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube|  Twitter Andi Johnson  website |LinkedIn  Organ Donation Website  https://linksinc.org

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

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2021 51:22

    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: 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. 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. 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: LifeCenter  (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter) Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn) Dr. Madison Cuffy (website) University of Cincinnati Kidney Transplant   

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

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2021 5:46

    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

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2021 28:24

    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: 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. 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. 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: LifeCenter | website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube|  Twitter Andi Johnson  website |LinkedIn  Organ Donation Website  Carolyn Henry

    Episode 26: Was this Kidney Donation Destined to Happen?

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 3, 2021 43:53

    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: Monica Weakley, a kidney donor, talks about what she experienced when her own mom's kidney failed and she had to look for donors.  Robin shares her side of the story and how people discouraged her once she got tested for kidney donation. At present, Robin is trying to raise awareness around kidney donation and educating people from her own personal experience.    Resources Mentioned: LifeCenter | website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube|  Twitter Andi Johnson  website |LinkedIn  Organ Donation Website 

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

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2021 5:13

    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

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2021 41:42

    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: 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. 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. Andi and Ickey talk about the misconceptions surrounding organ donation and the importance of educating people.    Resources Mentioned: LifeCenter | website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube|  Twitter Andi Johnson  website |LinkedIn  Organ Donation Website  Jovante Woods Foundation 

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

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 13, 2021 13:47

    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

    Episode 24: Donating A Kidney To Marvin Gaye III, A God Story

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 6, 2021 20:37

    In today's episode host Andi Johnson talks to Rick Greene about his decision to be a living kidney donor. He shares his personal story of taking step by step to line up for a perfect match.    Episode Highlights:  Andi asks Rick to share his story and what led him to the place where now he wants to help someone as a living kidney donor. Rick says he had a habit of grabbing the TV remote when he got home. In 2014, one night on entertainment tonight, he saw Marvin Gaye seeking a kidney donor. Rick reached out and called the number, after 4 days he went for the testing. Marvin's wife informed Rick that six people before him were rejected because of poor matching. Rick says he doesn't believe in his body anyway, and he only believed that all belongs to God. Post donating his kidney, Rick says his surgeon told “The more you walk, the more you will heal.” Slowly he started feeling better each day. In seven years, “Have you had any issues as a result of donating a kidney?” asks Andi. Andi asks Rick, what would he say to someone who is considering being a living kidney donor? Rick says he and Marvin Gaye III talk all the time, and he is doing great. By the grace of God, he got his life back. Andi applauds Rick for all he has done and says he is a giver, and it feels like God has moved him to a place where he can help people. Rick and Andi agree to a simple and right message that is “Choose Love.” Rick says we make things more complicated than they need to be. Everyone should pray about it and talk to God about it; If you can be considered as an organ donor and if you are comfortable donating, do it, says Rick. Do you feel like you inspire other people to do what you do by sharing your story? Andi asks Rick. Rick says he prays that people would consider donation and how it could bless someone to move forward in life.   3 Key Points:  Rick talks about the donation and healing process so that people can understand more about what it means to be a living kidney donor. Andi asks Rick for his opinion about “Why many people of color, specifically American African's, don't want to donate their organs?” We learn to share and exchange information, and that is how we help and support one another, says Andi. Resources Mentioned: LifeCenter  website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube|  Twitter Andi Johnson  website |LinkedIn  Organ Donation Website   

    This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 10- Advocacy For Organ And Tissue Donation In The Community

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2021 7:20

    Advocacy For Organ And Tissue Donation In The Community, 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 23: Bobby Schrichten's Passion For The Recovery Of Organs and Tissues For Transplantation

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 22, 2021 32:05

    During episode 23 of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson talks to Bobby Schrichten; He is a manager at the Tissue Services Department and a long-time staff member at the LifeCenter. Andi and Bobby discuss how organ donation happens and the moving parts that contributes to giving the gift of life. Tune in for this important, informative talk!   Episode Highlights:  Bobby talks about his journey at the LifeCenter, where he joined 15 years ago as a Perfusionist.  A perfusionist is an individual who is available in the operating rooms and makes donations happen from respective organizations and teams for recovery.   A perfusionist is also a transporter and logistic role who travels all over to recover organs and bring them back to the center. Andi confirms that so much happens for an organ to recover from the patient. Transporting an organ requires a lot of effort; It also has to be matched with a patient in a short period of time. Bobby says he took a short time break from the Perfusionist position and joined the community center, which is now a donation support service center. The donation support service team manages and deals with all referral aspects of individuals and hospitals. Andi informs that the law requires hospitals to report every death to LifeCenter and other organ procurement organizations throughout the country. Bobby's career journey led him to return to his role of perfusionist and after 3 years, Bobby got the responsibility of the Tissue recovery center at the LifeCenter. Andi asks Bobby “Before working at the LifeCenter, what did you know about organ or tissue donation?” Bobby shares about the EMS program that he has created. The person who dies on the scene are tissue donors, not the organ donor, because in order to become an organ donor, you have to be in the hospital. Ensuring that his team is emotionally and physically well is the most challenging thing for him at the LifeCenter, because they have to make a recovery and also have to cope with families who have lost their loved ones. Andi addresses organ, eye, and tissue donation in regards to the LGBTQIA community. She asks Bobby to share his insights and what the restrictions are around donation?  Due to a lifestyle that is allegedly associated with gay men,  the Tissue Banking industry has decided that we can't donate tissue, says Bobby. They allow donated organs, but not eye or tissue.  There are so many tests to make sure that everything is safe and can be transplanted.  As demand is increasing, we will see many changes in the coming years when it comes to tissue, eye, and organ donation. It will allow more people to help more people, and that's what is most important. The HIV Organ Policy Equity act was passed, and it allows organ donation between HIV-positive individuals. Bobby says that due to the HIV act, required organs are available for needed folks to live on, make changes, and be the people in society that they were supposed to be. 3 Key Points: Bobby talks about his love to help people, save lives,  and change lives forever. He also talks about the motivating factors that push him forward.  Andi refers to Bobby as a compassionate leader who truly cares for every person on his team. He comes every day and gives everything to the LifeCenter. Bobby says he loves everything about LifeCenter, not because of his position but due to the people he works with, the team he has, and the overall mission and vision of the LifeCenter. Resources Mentioned: LifeCenter  website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube|  Twitter Andi Johnson  website |LinkedIn  Organ Donation Website  Bobby Schrichten | https://lifepassiton.org/who-we-are/leadership/

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

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 15, 2021 8:16

    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

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 8, 2021 34:50

    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: 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.  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.  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: LifeCenter | website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube|  Twitter Andi Johnson  website |LinkedIn  Organ Donation Website

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

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 1, 2021 7:33

    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

    Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2021 29:09

    Show Notes Pending.

    mission families kidney robert wilder
    This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 07- A Mother's Beautiful Gift To Her Daughter

    Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2021 3:10

    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

    Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2021 41:42

    During episode 20 of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andy 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. Andy 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: 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. 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. Andy and Ickey talk about the misconceptions surrounding organ donation and the importance of educating people.    Resources Mentioned: LifeCenter | website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube|  Twitter Andi Johnson  website |LinkedIn  Organ Donation Website  Jovante Woods Foundation 

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

    Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2021 10:22

    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

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 27, 2021 41:55

    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: 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.  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.  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: LifeCenter Cincinnati  Website | Facebook| Instagram| Twitter | YouTube | Leadership Donate Life Visit https://lifepassiton.org/ to register or to get involved in organ donation. You can also buy or donate life cookies in-store or online at busken.com. For each cookie purchase - an original cookie will be given to a healthcare hero who works with the Life Center’s Hospital Partners. 

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

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2021 17:00

    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: https://lifepassiton.org/ https://lifepassiton.org/who-we-are/leadership/ https://www.facebook.com/LifeCenterOH 513-558-5555  

    Episode 18: 20 Years Post Kidney Donation with Lisa Cooney

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 13, 2021 39:05

    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: Lisa Cooney shares a life-changing incident about organ donation that happened 20 years ago. Not everything on the internet is true, do not take it as gospel, seek out correct information from designated authorities. 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: LifeCenter Cincinnati  Website | Facebook| Instagram| Twitter | YouTube | Organ Donation Website: https://www.donatelife.net/  Lisa Cooney: lisacooneyconsulting@gmail.com

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

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 6, 2021 11:00

    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/ https://lifepassiton.org/who-we-are/leadership/ https://www.facebook.com/LifeCenterOH 513-558-5555  

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

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 30, 2021 33:31

    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: Burn patients are very susceptible to infection and thermal regulation, making human-skin graphs incredibly vital to their survival. Jason Schechterle and Danny Happy are both motivational speakers who survived their burn injuries as a result of life-saving tissue donation. 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: LifeCenter Cincinnati  | Website | Facebook| Instagram| Twitter | YouTube | Survivor Stories  |Jason Schechterle | Danny Happy AlloSource The American Association of Tissue Banks

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

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 23, 2021 6:46

    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

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 16, 2021 51:22

    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: 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. 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. 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: LifeCenter  (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter) Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn) Dr. Madison Cuffy (website) University of Cincinnati Kidney Transplant 

    This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 02

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 9, 2021 6:38

    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.  

    Episode 15: A Life of Dedication to Changing Lives with Paula Franckhauser

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 2, 2021 37:45

    During episode 15 of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson speaks with Paula Franckhauser, a woman who has been in the fight for a long time but is now retiring from the kidney transplant game. Paula knows all things kidney and has dedicated almost half of her life to changing the lives of so many!   Episode Highlights:  Paula turned 65 recently and thinks that after over 20 years of service, it’s time for younger nurses to take over the fight. For the last 5 years, Paula has taken over the responsibility of handling the kidney transplant waitlist. Some people have to wait years on the kidney transplant wait list depending on their blood type. Paula feels as though she has become part of the families of those who are waiting on a kidney transplant. After working on the floor as a nurse and as a case manager for a few years, Paula fell in love with her role in the transplant office. Paula’s 30-year nursing career started out in long-term care but she has held a plethora of roles since then. When Paula first started at Christ’s hospital in Cincinnati, there was only one nurse. Most people are severely undereducated about how their kidneys work, thus leading to unhealthy habits. The morning after a transplant, people have color back in their eyes and a smile on their face. Many people don’t know how well they can do after a kidney transplant with only one kidney. People make the mistake of thinking that just because they don’t match their loved one, they can’t make a difference. The National Kidney Registration, NKR, offers a solution to a massive issue in a network that stretches across the country. Paula has enjoyed watching friendships evolve from kidney transplants between the recipients and the donors. Kidney donation programs are incredibly picky with living donors, but 20-years ago, there wasn’t enough known genetically. The biggest problem that non-compliant recipients have is that Medicare goes away after 3 years. If any complications come from the kidney transplant for donors, Medicare covers them for life. Paula has found an incredible amount of joy in making the phone calls to long-waiting recipients to tell them they have a kidney. For young nurses and doctors who are looking to join the transplant field, they need to get involved in their off-time. The Transplant Breakfast and Kidney Walks are great ways for young medical professionals to get involved. 2020 has taught everyone the importance of coming together as a community to lift each other up. One of the biggest myths surrounding healthcare is that medical professionals will not save a life if they are a registered donor. The communication between donation centers and hospitals has improved an incredible amount over the last 20 years. Paula, unfortunately, lost a patient at the beginning of her career but did everything she could to comfort his wife. When you are as involved in and connected with the lives of recipients as Paula is, a bond is formed forever. The Kidney Foundation is always accepting volunteers, so don’t be afraid to reach out. Through the pandemic, The Christ Hospital only slowed down a little with living donors but did as many overall as they ever do. 3 Key Points: The education process around kidney function is massively underdeveloped, and Paula would love to establish better education starting in high school. The parent-kidney donation program involves someone who doesn’t match their loved one but does match with someone else on the list and vice versa. Medicare stops covering prescriptions after only 3 years, so many of the recipients who don’t work are forced to find jobs in order to afford their medicine. Resources Mentioned: LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter) Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn) The Christ Hospital

    This Thing Called Life: Community Heroes 01

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 23, 2021 8:34

    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.

    Episode 14: From My Heart to Yours with Donna Jones Baker

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 16, 2021 23:26

    During this episode of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson speaks with Donna Jones Baker who recently received the gift of life through the donation of a kidney and a heart. Donna has learned to appreciate organ donation and its ability to help save so many lives!Episode Highlights: February 14th is National Donor Day, a day to honor all those who have been affected by organ donation.Donna was originally born in Paducah, Kentucky and went to Murray State University.After getting married, Donna lived in Baltimore for 22 years before moving to Cincinnati to become the CEO of The Urban League.Had it not been for the heart attack that she suffered, Donna believes she would still be at The Urban League.Initially, Donna received a Z-pack for what she thought to be a cold or a flu.Donna was able to make it to the hospital after suffering from a heart attack where she was equipped with an LVAD.Doctors wanted to give Donna a heart transplant, but couldn’t because they discovered cancer on her kidney.After doctors removed her kidney, Donna was placed on the transplant list for a new heart and kidney.According to the numbers, people of color suffer disproportionately from the effects of COVID.The months between her kidney removal and kidney/heart transplant were very scary for Donna.Doctors feared that Donna’s remaining kidney would not be able to support her and that she would have to go on dialysis.The same doctor that fixed Donna’s LVAD performed her heart and kidney transplant.Donna had to be careful with the medications that she took because the heart and kidney don’t want the same things.With the help of her husband, Greg, Donna was able to make it through a transplant during a pandemic.Donna advises those going through a similar situation to try not to think about it all the time.The gifts of life and grandchildren keep Donna grateful for every day that she opens her eyes.Through the pandemic, Donna has remained in touch with her children and grandchildren via Zoom.Working in organ donation is a tough job, but one that saves many lives.Donna hopes to schedule a trip to Baltimore to visit her grandchildren once the pandemic is over.Right now, there are over 100,000 people in need of a life-saving transplant surgery.3 Key Points:After initially thinking she had the flu, Donna agreed to host a round table event on Friday the 13th. That following Sunday, she suffered a heart attack from Giant Cell Myocarditis.Many African Americans decline to become organ donors out of a fear that if someone of note needed an organ, doctors would take it from them without consideration for their lives.To stay in touch and grow with her family members, Donna has started a Sunday night Zoom Bible study.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn)Donna’s StoryUrban League Of Greater Southwestern Ohio

    Episode 13: Families Are The Focus with Betsy Morgan

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 2, 2021 34:10

    During this episode of This Thing Called Life, host Andi Johnson speaks with Betsy Morgan, the Donation Support Services Trainer at LifeCenter. Betsy trains members of her team on how to approach families for donation interviews while remaining supportive in their time of need.Episode Highlights: Betsy began at LifeCenter as a Donation Support Specialist Coordinator back in 2015.In her role, Betsy and her team approach and support families during the organ donation process.Before coming to LifeCenter, Betsy was a nurse manager, something she attributes to her love of helping people.Betsy loves her job because she gets to see the good things in life, even though the rest of the world is chaotic.Sometimes the right thing to say is to say nothing; just showing support is something that people need.You can decide the right thing to say to a donor family based on where they are in their donation journey.People just want to be heard sometimes, so it can be as simple as picking up the phone and listening.With her previous work experience, Betsy knew about organs but didn’t know there were so many ways to donate.As technology and healthcare methods change and move forward, there are more and more ways to help those who need donation.The process of interviewing the families is a long and difficult one, but Betsy focuses on all the good that the gifts will do.Answering the interview questions can be a very difficult and arduous process but is necessary to ensure safe donations.During a past Donor Family Ceremony, Betsy comforted a crying woman that she had actually interviewed over the phone.Dealing with death every day is difficult but workers at LifeCenter are given purpose when making connections with families.It takes a high level of compassion and belief in the job to comfort people in their time of need.Conducting interviews over the phone, due to COVID, makes it more difficult to read emotions.Betsy must stay open-minded and understanding when approaching a family, especially over the phone.In such an emotionally taxing role, Betsy relies heavily on the support system at LifeCenter.Talking about and debriefing on the more difficult cases provides Betsy and her team with a form of relief.Teams that feel supported and encouraged tend to feel more confident and do better in their individual roles.When coming into such difficult and emotionally heavy conversations, it’s important to remain your authentic self.Though donor families will feel very alone, especially during a pandemic, there are always people/organizations out there to support them.Finding people that can relate to the process or pain can be a great way for grievers to find an outlet.Betsy made it her goal this year to simplify life and find the good amongst the sea of bad.3 Key Points:In a world filled with so much negativity and bad things, Betsy loves her job at LifeCenter because she gets to see so much positivity and good.While the interview process is filled with difficult and uncomfortable questions for donor families, it must be completed to ensure that the organs being donated go to the right recipients.COVID has forced Betsy and others in her position to learn how to have these talks over the phone where emotion is harder to translate.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn) 

    Episode 12: Closing the Health Gap of Racial Disparity with Renee Mahaffey Harris

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2021 45:53

    During this episode, host Andi Johnson speaks with Renee Mahaffey Harris, President and CEO of the Center for Closing the Health Gap in Cincinnati. Renee and the CCHG are working tirelessly to educate everyone on the hidden factors that contribute to the racial disparity in the health of the American population!Episode Highlights: Think about all the resources that you have available to meet all the needs in your life.Some people have to make a choice between necessities.CCHG works to close the health disparity that exists between races and socioeconomic classes in the Cincinnati area.According to multiple research studies over the last 40+ years, there is a disproportion of health amongst black and brown communities.COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on the black and brown communities.Last year, the pandemic and systemic racism combined to create a public health crisis.Renee has played a major role in the declaration of racism as a public health crisis in the Cincinnati area.Transportation planning is one example of a factor that contributes to systemic racism.The inhumanity of the murder of George Floyd sparked a movement in this country to fight systemic racism.Differences in police presence between BLM protests and the storming of the capital is a clear sign of systemic racism.Based on multiple studies, income has very little to do with one’s health outcome.A perception that black people have a higher threshold for pain has led to a disparity in prescriptions for black people.Systemic racism in this country can find its roots all the way back to slavery in the United States.Today, Cincinnati is the 5th most segregated city in America.Renee was actually told that she couldn’t run for class president when she was in 6th grade because she was black.Stress that is placed on black people by systemic racism plays a large role in their socioeconomic status.2020 has taken the problem of systemic racism beyond conversation and into policy review and renovation.With such a small margin of profit, grocery stores will continue to locate in places that are easier for people to drive to.Early on, Renee did not want to be an organ donor because of a myth that perpetuated through the black community.Across the board in just about every area of today’s issues, there is a mistrust of the governmental system.CCHG has gathered information from black professionals in the health community in an attempt to garner more trust around the vaccine.Scientists were able to use information from the SARS epidemic to speed up the creation of finding a vaccine for COVID.Those that don’t believe there is racial disparity in the healthcare system simply need to look at the numbers from various research studies.Taking the bias out of the healthcare system has to start in medical school and medical training.CCHG started 16 years ago and is the only health disparity organization that both conducts its own research and houses its own data.Education is only as good as its ability to be understood by those it was created for.The “We Must Save Us” campaign is aimed at educating people around all the impacts of COVID-19.3 Key Points:Multiple studies conducted since the Reagan Administration have shown that black and brown communities are disproportionately affected by health problems.How you treat people from other races is largely influenced by how segregated your childhood was and contributes to the systemic racism that we see today.Many people that distrust the speed at which the COVID-19 vaccine was created need to know that scientists were given a head start by the information available from the SARS epidemic in the early 2000s.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn)Center for Closing the Health Gap (website, WMSU Campaign)COVID-19 Resources

    Episode 11: Find A Way To Grieve with Chamoda Palmore

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2021 34:32

    During this episode of This Thing Called Life, host Andi Johnson speaks with Chamoda Palmore, a father to a son that was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident on his way to football practice in 2014. As a man, Chamoda knows that he might grieve differently than other people, but as someone going through his own journey of grief, he knows it’s important to find a way to grieve.Episode Highlights: Chamoda is a business owner that lost his son, Chamoda Kennedy-Palmore, to a motorcycle accident.Throughout his journey of grief, Chamoda has experienced a rollercoaster of emotions.It takes a lot of patience to get through the grieving process.Chamoda has leaned heavily on his faith, friends, family, and various support organizations.After meeting a woman who lost 2 children to a car crash, Chamoda was able to put things into perspective.Even 6 years later, it doesn’t feel real to Chamoda, it feels like someone is missing.Chamoda found it difficult to engage with other people, staying away from family functions and gatherings.If you have other children or people that depend on you, it’s important to find some level of normalcy again.Giving back through Chamoda’s Candy Cafe and Chamoda’s foundation has helped Chamoda heal.Right now more than ever, people all over the world need support and care from anyone that can give it.Chamoda’s 2 daughters and wife have all dealt with Chamoda’s death in different ways.When tragedy first strikes, it’s like the rainy season in April and it moistens up your heart to bloom in May.It’s important to plant the right things, love, support, passion, during the initial phase of grieving.Chamoda understood that it was a slippery slope to turn to a path of destructive behavior if grief is not handled correctly.For about 2 months after his son died, Chamoda couldn’t open the bible.Chamoda is comforted by knowing that as a tissue donor, Chamoda’s death was able to help many people.The local driver’s ed has incorporated Chamoda’s organ and tissue donation into its program.It’s hard for men to speak about their grief, but it’s important to find someone to talk to about their feelings.Men feel that they have to be so strong for the family but that doesn’t mean they can’t let it out somewhere else.Around the holidays, it’s important to find different ways to express your grief.Chamoda helped more than 30 people as a tissue and cornea donor.When his son died, Chamoda felt like an infant that just needed to be held.Have patience with those in your life that has lost someone; eventually, it will slow down, but for now, listen.3 Key Points:Chamoda likens his journey of grief to that of a baby’s journey of learning to walk. Right now, he is holding onto the banister as he guides his feet.Giving back to other people out there that are hurting can help someone heal and get through their own grief.Chamoda’s organ and tissue donation, now a part of their local driver’s ed video, has helped encourage others to become donors.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn)Chamoda’s Candy Cafe (website, Facebook)What's Your GriefGrief In CommonRefuge In GriefThe Center for Loss

    Episode 10: Grief Shows Itself in Many Different Ways with Jenn Proffitt

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2020 35:24

    During this episode of This Thing Called Life Podcast, host Andi Johnson speaks with Jenn Proffitt, one of Andi’s coworkers at LifeCenter. Jenn is a Family Aftercare Coordinator, working to help support the families of donors after the donation process takes place. With so much experience of supporting people in their own grief, Jenn has unique insight into what grief really looks like.Episode Highlights: Jenn helps donor families after the donation process by providing resources and emotional support.Family Aftercare Coordinators work with all sorts of organ donor families, from eyes all the way to the liver.Before she was a Family Aftercare coordinator, Jenn was a Family Services Coordinator.Family Services Coordinators support families through the entirety of the donation process.It takes a special individual to sit with a family that has experienced such an unexpected loss.Right now is a very heavy time for people all over the country.Jenn became a licensed social worker in 2003, working with many different demographics.After years of social work, Jenn decided to take a hiatus and became a nurse in 2013.A particular case as a nurse involving a baby inspired Jenn to support a loved one emotionally and join LifeCenter.Andi and Jenn have both realized the importance of listening to those that just want to be heard.Everyone grieves differently, so what you see from one grieving person may not be the signs shown by other grievers.Debbie Pollino is an example of someone who made the choice to not get stuck in the deep dark hole that is grief.Support and connection plays a large part in someone’s ability to deal with their grief.Grievers should seek out help when they find themselves in a dark place for a long period of time.When people offer to help, it’s important to accept it and let people love you.Society falls short when it comes to supporting someone who is grieving in the long-term.Andi had a very hard time at night when her son was having trouble breathing as a baby.Nighttime represents a time when you have to be alone with your grief, things such as journaling and meditation can help.Scheduling plans over the holidays gives grievers the ability to be around support while honoring their loved one.At the end of the day, there is no universal answer because there is no universal way of grieving.You never know what someone is going through, so, be kind to everyone and show grace.When Jenn is feeling overwhelmed, she likes to take a walk or sometimes watch Netflix.3 Key Points:Jenn has served as both a Family Services Coordinator and a Family Aftercare Coordinator, supporting donor families throughout the entirety of the donation and post-donation process.Loved ones that are in the room for a medical emergency have no idea what’s going on and need the support that is often not offered to them.Grief looks different for everyone. Everybody reacts differently, but just because one person cries and one holds it in doesn’t mean that one is hurting less than the other.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn)Jenn Proffitt (Linkedin)This Thing Called Life Episode 09What's Your GriefRefuge In GriefGrief In Common  

    Episode 09: Grief Looks Different For Everyone with Debbie Pollino

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2020 39:49

    During this episode of This Thing Called Life Podcast, host Andi Johnson speaks with Debbie Pollino, a Donate-Life Ambassador for LifeCenter. Unfortunately, Debbie’s experience as an ambassador found its roots in the death of her son Nick after a car crash in 2014. Debbie knows firsthand that grief looks different for everyone and she hopes that sharing her son’s story can help others deal with their own tragedies.Episode Highlights:  In January 2014, Debbie lost her son Nick to a car accident, suffering a brain injury that he could not recover from.Debbie had no idea that her son Nick was very passionate about organ donation until he noticed that she was one on her license.Nick was able to save multiple lives with the organs that were donated from his body.4 months after the death of her son, Debbie attempted to become a Donate-Life Ambassador, but it was still too soon.After about 18 months of recovering from the death of her son, Debbie started sharing Nick’s story at schools.Nick was a very adventurous and outdoorsy person, driving across the country multiple summers in a row to Northern California.After attending Northern Kentucky for college, Nick transferred to a school in Northern California for a forestry program.What was supposed to be a 3-month trip to Hawaii for Nick, turned into a 5 ½ year trip.The Bernie Madoff pyramid scheme collapse brought an end to Nick’s trip to Hawaii.Debbie’s nephews and nieces were like siblings with Nick in life, children to her after Nick’s death.Fortunately for Debbie, her family continued to talk about Nick, keeping his spirit all around them.Nick had the kind of spirit that makes people proud to remember who he was as a person.Debbie had a meltdown recently when she was looking through pictures and realized that she will never have a current one.Nick made it all the way to Lima, Peru on a buddy pass for New Years, sleeping in the airport for a week.The first time that Debbie went to visit Nick in Hawaii, he jumped off a 60-foot cliff and climbed back up.With how up and down the grieving process is, it’s important to have people that you can ask for help.Though support groups work for some people, Debbie felt it was more beneficial to be around positive reinforcement.Nick was very spiritual in his own way, using nature as his church, as a way to find peace.Debbie and her family celebrate Nick on a variety of occasions, especially Thanksgiving, his favorite holiday.On August 4th every year, Nick’s birthday, Debbie’s family throws a party to celebrate his life.Debbie had the pleasure of meeting Nick’s heart recipient, Brian, and welcoming his family into her family.Brian looks and acts the same as Nick, with a similar build and a love for outdoor adventure.The pandemic has been especially difficult for Debbie, given how close she is with her family.Though it’s hard during the pandemic, don’t hide away from other people while you are grieving. 3 Key Points:Debbie lost her 36-year-old son, Nick, after a car accident in January of 2014. Because of his passion for organ donation, he was able to save multiple lives.While most days are good, filled with great memories, some days are rough for Debbie when all she wants is a hug from her son.Nick’s heart recipient, Brian, a father of 2, has since become a part of Debbie’s family, along with the rest of his family.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn)Nick’s Heart YouTube VideoWhat's your GriefGrief in CommonFern Side

    Episode 08: A Transplant Journey of Great Luck with Donerik Black

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2020 88:20

    During this episode of This Thing Called Life, host Andi Johnson speaks with Donerik Black who she has known for over 20 years. Donerik had no experience with organ transplants until the day his father told him that he needed a kidney. A deep love for his father made it an easy choice. That, however, was just the beginning of his donor journey!Episode Highlights: Donerik absorbed his parents’ values and work ethic which helped him become the successful entrepreneur he is today.After college, Donerik returned to run a PR company and start a newspaper, The Dayton Weekly, both with his father.The Dayton Weekly hoped to deliver content that focused on the underserved black community in the Dayton area.While in college in Washington DC, Donerik played collegiate basketball while carving out his niche as a government employee.Donerik decided to leave his life as a government employee and return to work with his father.With his feet dipped into multiple pools of employment, Donerik knew that either you were making or losing money.After spending 5 years on dialysis, Donerik’s father was told that he needed to have a kidney transplant.Donerik was first introduced to organ donation when he donated a kidney to his father in June of 2006.Working the newspaper and getting married in the same time period as the transplant presented various challenges.Due to complications from his kidney transplant, Donerik’s father was not able to make it to his wedding.Donerik’s father kept an open-door policy and that helped him establish deep roots throughout the Dayton community.During a regular check-up with his doctor, it was discovered that Donerik might have something wrong with his heart.After not addressing his heart issues, fluid began to fill up his lungs to the point where he couldn’t breathe.Donerik had to have a pig valve transplanted into his heart when it was decided that he was too far gone.Doctors decided to put a defibrillator into Donerik’s chest in case he started to have a heart attack.Donerik chose to own the narrative of his new reality and share his story and do more for the community.In late 2012, Donerik’s defibrillator had to activate on a regular basis because of consistent heart flutters.What Donerik believed to be a quick-fix procedure ended up seeing him flatline in the outpatient facility.It became more and more apparent that Donerik would need a heart transplant.In the back of his mind, Donerik didn’t think that he was going to survive, so he made sure to set up his business to run in the future.Donerik was forced to resign from his job and withdraw from graduate school while in ICU.The outpouring of support and respect that Donerik received is something that he feels that he can never repay.The hospital psychologist helped Donerik deal with the issue of someone else dying in order for him to live.Donerik chose to use a TAF, or a Total Artificial Heart, to buy himself more time until he matched with a donor.On his birthday, Donerik was surprised by the hospital staff that they had found a heart for him, getting a transplant later that night.Donerik kept a glass-half-full mentality throughout this process, learning to focus on what was in his control.A clinician actually claimed that Donerik was an “unsalvageable patient,” giving Donerik the motivation that he needed.When looking back, it’s hard for Donerik to fathom his journey and the great luck that he has had.After going through what he went through, Donerik has made it his mission to share the knowledge that he has gained with as many people as possible.In such a crazy year, Donerik’s goal is to grow his business and create great relationships.Donerik makes sure that he spends his time now with people who he can benefit and that will have a positive impact on his life.3 Key Points:Donerik’s father was a business owner and entrepreneur for his entire life, imprinting on him the fire that drives him to be a successful entrepreneur today.After avoiding a suspected heart issue and inconsistent symptoms, Donerik had to have a valve replaced in his heart with an organ from a pig.When Donerik went in for a simple heart procedure, he flatlined and had to be shocked 74 times with over 45 minutes of CPR to come back.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn)United Network for Organ Sharing 

    Episode 07: Giving the Breath of Life After Death with Kris Grigsby

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2020 57:00

    During this episode of This Thing Called Life Podcast, host Andi Johnson speaks with Kris Grigsby, an incredible human being that has acted as the primary support system for a loved one. After struggling with Cystic Fibrosis for his entire life, Kris’s husband Joe had to have a lung transplant in 2012. Listen in to hear all about Kris and Joe’s inspiring story!Episode Highlights: Organ donation doesn’t just affect the donor, but also changes the lives of the close friends and family.Not all transplant stories have a happy ending, but at the same time, not all stories end in tragedy.Kris’s husband Joe was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis as an infant, beating the odds and living well beyond his initial life expectancy.When their twins were 3-years-old, Joe was operating at only 20-30% lung capacity.Lung donation requires a donor that has already passed away.Due to Joe’s convenient blood type, Joe only had to wait just over 3 months on the waitlist before getting his transplant.Spending 6 weeks at the hospital for the transplant, Joe and Kris went 5 weeks without seeing their children.Just 16 hours after his transplant, Joe was able to walk 150 feet.After the transplant, Kris had to change her mindset from one of a caregiver to one of a more normal wife.Kris continued to work full-time throughout the entire process for insurance purposes, but it also gave her some relief.Both Joe and Kris, very independent humans, had to learn how to say yes when people offered help.It took over 2 years to connect with the donor’s family, and now Kris and Joe are very actively connected with them.Staying connected with the donor’s family has helped with the healing process on both sides.Kris and Joe’s children do not remember the time when Joe was sick and unable to live an active lifestyle.Going through the transplant process alone is impossible, so it’s important to accept the help that is offered.The transplantation process is a journey for both the donor and their family/friends.As a result of the different recipient and supporter groups, Joe and Kris have connected with people all over the country.Kris’s grandpa passed away in April unexpectedly after marrying his new wife just a year and a half before.The funeral home director advised Kris’s grandpa’s widow to deny the option for her deceased husband to be an organ donor.It should be the #1 responsibility for transplant centers and funeral homes to support the family.We must all advocate for ourselves and our loved ones for what’s right in the moment of a donation decision.Leave the decision on whether you can or cannot be a donor up to the medical professionals.Tissue and cornea donation has the potential to help up to 50 people from one donor, and can change/save lives.Science is constantly evolving and as a result, the number of people that can donate is constantly increasing.Transplant is not a fix-all option and it’s important to remember that there will still be rough times.2020, while chaotic, has presented an opportunity for everyone to grow closer to their families.Faith has acted as an essential support beam throughout the transplant process and life in general for Kris.Support groups are incredible resources for those affected by transplantations.3 Key Points:Unlike kidney and liver donation where you can have a living donor, lung donation requires a donor that is already deceased.Kris and Joe actually watched the accident on the news that involved Joe’s donor but didn’t know it until later.A misguided funeral home director gave incorrect advice to Kris’s grandpa’s widow and ultimately swayed her to turn down his option to be an organ donor.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn)Kris Grigsby (Facebook)Matthew West (musician)

    LifeCenter Virtual Community Breakfast, November 18, 2020

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 6, 2020 1:33

    We would love for you to join us for LifeCenter's Virtual Community Breakfast on Wednesday, November 18th 2020 from 9 am - 10 am est. We will be sharing inspiring stories and honoring the heroes of organ donation. You can register for this FREE event at lifepassiton.org.

    Episode 06: To Save a Brother with Courtney Schapier

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2020 74:10

    During this episode of This Thing Called Life, host Andi Johnson speaks with Courtney Schapier, a liver donor, the sister of a liver recipient, and one of the Organ Donation Coordinators at LifeCenter. Upon learning about her brother’s need for a liver, Courtney made the incredibly brave decision to make a difference. Her story is simply amazing!Episode Highlights: November 13th-15th is National Donor Sabbath, a time for everyone to recognize the miracle that is an organ, eye, and tissue donation.Courtney has been an Organ Donation Coordinator at LifeCenter for the past 6-7 years.Donation Coordinators handle the medical management and evaluation for organ donors.Amongst other responsibilities, Courtney plays a large part in matching organs to donors.Sometimes, organ donation acts as the silver lining to families that are going through an incredibly hard time.Donation coordination is a 24-hour job because donation does not run on a 9-5 schedule.From the time that a case opens to the time it closes, Courtney is on the clock for 36 hours.Courtney uses CrossFit and a great support system as outlets for the high stress levels of this job.With such a high-stress job, it’s no surprise that there is a high level of turnover.There have been times where the stress of the job has made Courtney question her desire to be here.COVID brought everything to a screeching halt when it first exploded back in March.The sheer amount of unknown information has made the ongoing global pandemic that much scarier.Things have finally begun to get back to normal, meaning more lives are being saved via organ donation.In 2016, Courtney’s brother discovered a huge mass on his liver that required a transplant.Unfortunately, Courtney lost her father when she was only 2 months old, so her brother acted as a father to her.Courtney was informed that she was a donor match for her brother while supporting a family that was pulling life-support.The weight of the situation started to feel heavy when Courtney sat on the pre-op table.Sitting outside the OR doors on the pre-op table, Courtney was rolled back for surgery after only 20 or 30 minutes.There were a handful of signs that something was wrong with Courtney’s brother’s liver long before the doctors caught it.After everything was said and done, it took a 10-hour procedure for Courtney to donate over half of her liver.The first thing that Courtney can remember is getting sick immediately after surgery.Courtney finally got to see her brother when she was transferred to the ICU.It was a complete shift in lifestyle for Courtney from the moment that she found out she was a donor match for her brother.Finding living liver donors is more rare than finding living kidney donors.Both Courtney and her brother fully recovered and are as healthy as they can be today.TX Jet was kind enough to donate its services to fly Courtney and her family out for surgery.After her donation, Courtney was sure that she was at the right job at LifeCenter.Courtney was comforted by the knowledge that everything in her life made her the perfect donor for her brother.This year, Courtney is focusing on being more present when she is with loved ones.The amazing thing about donation and transplantation is the opportunity to potentially save a life.3 Key Points:Organ Donation Coordinators manage everything from the moment a donor decides to donate, to the time that the organ is sent to its recipient.It takes a very special person to not only manage the responsibilities of being a Donation Coordinator, but also the rollercoaster of emotions that come with the job.Courtney donated just over 50% of her own liver, which was oversized, to begin with, to save her brother’s life.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn)TX Jet (website)

    Episode 05: The Liver Transplant Process with Dr. Shimul Shah

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2020 39:13

    During this episode of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson speaks with Dr. Shimul Shah, the head of the Liver Transplant Program at UC Health. Dr. Shah and his team are utilizing ever-evolving medical technologies to help all those facing the liver-transplant process. He knows that it is vitally important to try to understand what the patient is going through so that they can best be served with their health problems.Episode Highlights: Dr. Shah runs one of the largest liver transplant programs in the country to help as many people as possible.In his 9th year with UC Health, Dr. Shah and his team have done over 750 liver transplants.COVID has presented some challenges in the world of liver transplantations because of its immunosuppressed patients.There are a number of things that must be considered with the introduction of a global pandemic before conducting transplants.Though they didn’t understand what was happening around the world, Dr. Shah’s team went ahead with multiple transplants.Many healthcare professionals had to come together when making protocols for transplantations during COVID.There has been a lot of success with telehealth and that proved useful for the Liver Transplant Team.After protocols were put in place, liver transplants were resumed at the same rate as before.Programs all over the country were forced to shut their doors for a small period of time while they figured out how to get ahead of COVID.There are more donors in the Midwest and South than there are on the East Coast and West Coast.A national policy of “sickest first” has allowed organs to be shared throughout a wider geographical region.Clinical trials are underway for pumps that pump the livers continuously during travel.The pump presents an opportunity to repair the damage that has been done to organs before transplants are conducted.Because of technology, more organs are being used today that would have never been used 5-10 years ago.Dr. Shah uses complete transparency when he gives his patients past results of treatment options.Patients can donate their livers at much older ages because liver cells constantly repair themselves.Dr. Shah originally wanted to be a liver and pancreas cancer expert, but a fellowship in liver transplant shifted his path if only slightly.Patients know when the care that a doctor shows is authentic and that they are all in on the process.It’s important to talk to patients as people and try to understand what they are going through.Dr. Shah helped lead the Living Liver Donor Program that launched earlier this year.New patients find out how sick they actually are and what all their options are before moving forward.Dr. Shah and his team do everything they can to help people get better without a transplant.During his free time, Dr. Shah enjoys playing tennis, basketball, and taking afternoon naps.COVID has made Dr. Shah’s family’s favorite activities, eating out and traveling, a little tricky.3 Key Points:People with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to COVID-19, thus bringing a learning curve to those in the liver transplant field.Transplant systems all over the country were forced to shut down their programs when COVID first hit, but have since been able to resume transplants after implementing protocols.Patients with an extensive medical history have benefited greatly from advancements in technology due to the larger amount of organs that are now available.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn)Dr. Shimul Shah (website)UC Health | Liver Transplant ProgramIn Shock - (Book)Dewey’s Pizza

    Episode 04: Miracle After Miracle with Liver Recipient John Mock

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2020 50:46

    During this episode of This Thing Called Life, host Andi Johnson speaks with John Mock, a salesman for a large wheelchair manufacturer. His life took a turn two years ago when his liver failed after 56 years of perfect health. It took a ridiculous set of miracles for John to get his new liver, but he did, and his story is absolutely inspiring!Episode Highlights: John details his background as a traveling sales manager for a large wheelchair manufacturer.John discusses the moment, two years ago, when he realized that something was wrong with his liver.The doctors could not figure out what was going on with John’s liver because he passed all tests that they could throw at him.The ammonia build-up from liver failure was taking away John’s ability to focus.Excessive sleeping led John to the conclusion that something was definitely going wrong.John’s liver specialist sent him to the University of Cincinnati’s transplant program.MELD (Model for Endstage Liver Disease) goes from 6 (years to live) to 40 (death); John was a 24.After some mini-miracles, John was able to accelerate the process of getting on the transplant waiting list.A battery of tests and blood work stood between John and getting on the transplant list.Expecting a long wait to get on the list to get the tests run, a cancellation got John in for his test two days after his acceptance into the program.Canceling the family vacation was tough, but John had to be close enough to get to the hospital.John was accepted onto the transplant list and found a donor within the same day.Recipients have to manage their expectations because there is a chance the organ is not a good match.It was important for John to reach out to the family of the donor to express his gratitude and condolences.Only 6 weeks after his surgery, John was on a plane to his national sales meeting in Colorado.Relying on others for everything was incredibly humbling for John as a natural go-getter.27 days after his surgery, John and his family were able to meet his donor family and they hit it off.The liver that John has now is not his own, but has been inside two other people along the way.It’s incredibly difficult to have a healthy relationship between the recipient and the donor family.What it was like connecting with his donor family and how hard it remains for them to this day.If both sides can see that through donation, it can help both sides move forward.The gift of life is shared between two families, two worlds really, in the case of organ donation.It all starts with the decision that two people do not have to die.You see life from a completely different perspective when you come so close to death.John works tirelessly as an advocate to make sure that his donor’s family would be proud.Hope doesn’t get people to become donors, but it is a strategy.Anyone can be a registered organ donor and give hope to someone in need.3 Key Points:John’s life completely changed when his liver failed two years ago. Through some mini-miracles, John was able to get in front of the board of the University of Cincinnati’s transplant program.Organ recipients tend to question what they have done to deserve to live and why someone else had to die. The harsh reality of life sets in at some point.It’s incredibly humbling when your body and mind stop you from doing certain things and you are forced to rely on others to do things for you.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn)John Mock (Facebook) Hope is Not a Strategy - BookUnited Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)University of Cincinnati Medical Center

    Episode 03: Giving the Ultimate Gift as a Living Donor with Monica Weakley

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2020 51:22

    During this episode of This Thing Called Life podcast, host Andi Johnson speaks with Monica Weakley, a living kidney donor, who shares her inspiring story. Learn how Monica made the important decision to donate, how she feels about her decision thirteen years later, and how you can share her important message. Episode Highlights: Monica shares her donation story. She was born and raised in Cincinnati. She sells real estate.Learn how Monica made the decision to be a living donor.Monica had a friend that needed a kidney and didn't have a match in her family.Something inside of Monica told her she was going to help her friend. This is a common feeling among donors.Monica describes getting the call learning she was a good match for her friend.Thirteen years later, Monica feels amazing.Monica describes her recovery time. She had to have an open nephrectomy. Monica knew the level of gift that was for her friend but feels it was just as much a gift to be a donor.Monica tells us about her mother who is in renal failure. She is officially on the donor list.Monica made a plea on Facebook to find a donor for her mother.Andi and Monica discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the transplantation. The living donor program is everything to families like Monica's.Andi describes the success of the paired kidney exchange program.Some people have loved ones who need a lifesaving gift but do not volunteer for donation.Monica isn't sure she would try to persuade anybody. She would simply tell her story.Over the years, there has been an increase in altruistic donors.The donation list is not a mountain that we can't climb.Monica lives her life with gratitude and peace.Learn how to contact Monica if you're interested in getting tested to help her mother, Nancy.The one myth Monica wants to dispel is that being a donor changes your health. The one thing that has changed for her is that she can't take Advil.Monica shares what she takes with her on every trip.Monica and Andi discuss books they’ve read recently.Monica's goal for this year is to get her mom a kidney.Monica loves Top 40 radio and the movie Bridesmaids. Andi and Monica discuss traveling and where they like to eat in Cincinnati.Monica thinks the world needs more authenticity right now. She speaks to the value of turning inwards every single day.Ask how you would show up today if you weren't being watched.Monica shares what she has learned during the pandemic. This podcast is here to help eliminate the list of people waiting for a lifesaving transplant.Living donation is absolutely a possibility to help bring people off of that list.3 Key Points: Living donation can be a huge gift to the donor as well as the recipient.  Sharing stories saves lives and helps dispel myths.  The living donor list is not a mountain we can’t climb. That list provides hope to families like Monica’s.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn) Monica Weakley (Facebook)The Four Agreements (book)White Fragility (book)

    Episode 02: Organ Donation During a Pandemic with Barry Massa

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2020 54:40

    During this episode of This Thing Called Life Podcast, host Andi Johnson speaks with Barry Massa, the executive director of LifeCenter Organ Donor Network. They discuss what it’s like to recover organs and tissues during a pandemic.    Episode Highlights: Barry Massa started at LifeCenter as their CFO and has been their executive director for twelve years.LifeCenter handles organ and tissue donation for the Cincinnati area.In 2019 they had a record year for organ and tissue donation due to community outreach and their relationship with local hospitals.The federal government created organ procurement organizations. Two different teams work with donor families. The team that is trying to save the donor's life and the donation team.All U.S. organ procurement organizations (OPOs) are non-profits.OPOs are heavily regulated. Medicare governs organ donation and the FDA oversees tissue donation. The United Network of Organ Sharing maintains the organ waitlist.Barry shares the biggest surprise he's experienced during his time at LifeCenter.There are currently 114,000 people on the waitlist.OPOs do not operate in the living donation space. Living donation impacts the waitlist in a positive way.Barry shares about a good friend of his that needed a heart and lung transplant long before he was involved in LifeCenter.Not all hospitals do transplants.Barry shares how the pandemic has affected donation.During the coronavirus, donation really went down. There was a 40% drop in donors while hospitals were shut down.There wasn't a game plan in place for a pandemic so they took it day by day.They had to add in testing for COVID-19 in donors. There were testing delays. There were a lot of donation opportunities that did not occur that would have occurred in the past.Barry describes how staff worked together during coronavirus.They had to approach families for organ donation over the phone or via Zoom.Communicating empathy for the family can be more difficult in a virtual environment.Barry explains how donation works.Every hospital in their area calls LifeCenter when the patient meets certain clinical triggers that could possibly result in organ donation.Through August 1st, donation is back to where it was last year.Those waiting for lungs are having a more difficult time during this pandemic.Barry thinks the list of people who need a lung will increase during this time.Kidneys are the most needed organ on the waiting list.Barry discusses the scarcity of PPE and how that has played a role.Collaboration between hospitals could have increased even more during this time.People feel comfortable fulfilling their roles while taking necessary precautions. The staff has a real passion for their mission.Barry tries to communicate with staff more regularly, at least on a weekly basis.The mental aspect of this pandemic is tough in so many ways.Barry would advise someone waiting for a transplant to stay as healthy as they can during this time.Today's honor moment is for all of the front line staff in all of the organ procurement organizations across the country that are working tirelessly to facilitate organ, eye, and tissue donation.Get to know Barry with his answers to fun personal questions at the end of the show.3 Key Points:Deceased organ donation is unique in that the patient has to have suffered a non-survivable brain injury, which is only about 1% of the deaths that occur. During the onset of COVID there was a 38% decrease in organ donation across the U.S.Consistent communication, being flexible and checking on staff has been key during this time of the pandemic.Resources Mentioned:LifeCenter (website) (Facebook) (Instagram) (YouTube) (Twitter)Andi Johnson (website) (LinkedIn) Barry Massa (website) (LinkedIn)

    Episode 01: Introduction to This Thing Called Life Podcast

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2020 3:35

    Host Andi Johnson discusses why This Thing Called Life was created.

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