March 29, 2018

Donate Life Flag-Raising Ceremony set for April 5

Kendra Woody sometimes receives text messages with photos of driver’s licenses with miniature red hearts.


Kendra Woody sometimes receives text messages with photos of driver’s licenses with miniature red hearts.

When she does, she knows another person has signed up to be an organ donor in honor of her late husband, Jack.

Kendra Woody, here with her late husband, Jack, will speak at next week’s Donate Life Flag-Raising Ceremony.

“I read a letter at his funeral,” Woody said. “It was about how we found beauty in the ashes and I talked about how we wanted friends and family to go out and become donors.

“After he died I knew what to do the minute they asked me about donating his organs. I did not have to think about it. Jack always wanted to help people,” Woody said. “He lost his hope in the end and took his own life, but I wanted to honor him by donating his organs so he could continue helping people.”

Woody said the entire family, herself included, signed up to become donors after Jack died. She is happy to see that her message from her husband’s passing was received — the random texts alerting her of a friend or family member’s decision to join the registry brings her comfort.

Woody will be among guest speakers sharing stories during the ninth annual Donate Life Flag-Raising Ceremony. It is part of a national effort to raise awareness about the need for organ, tissue and eye donations as well as a time to honor donors and recipients whose lives have been impacted by organ, eye and tissue donation.

The event, set for 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, in the north lobby of Light Hall, celebrates organ donor families, living donors and hospital staff who care for donors and transplant recipients.

Woody said four people were given a second chance at life because of Jack’s organs — both kidneys and lungs, heart, liver and pancreas were transplanted.

“To know that he was able to save a life, several lives, after losing his … it was the right thing to do,” Woody said. “Now there are families who are getting another day with their loved ones. They are getting to live life to the fullest. I am so thankful for that gift of giving others another chance. Donating is so impactful.”

In the years to come Woody hopes that her 2-year-old twins, Carter and Liam, will one day have the opportunity to meet the person who received their father’s heart.

“I am not going to hide what happened to their dad,” she said of his suicide. “I want them to know about mental health issues and that there is help available. But I also want them to know that others are living even though their dad is gone.”

The online donor registry can be found at