fbpx

Foundation Focus: Hockey with Heart

Two men and a woman with their arms around each other in front of a diner
Anyone who knew Cody Baron would expect to see his picture beside the words ‘selfless’ and ‘generous’ in the dictionary.  

“He lived each of his days with joy, laughter, and vigor,” said his mother, Wendy Smith. “He had a sense of innocence and a mission to make the world a more loving and beautiful place.” 

When Cody’s life was tragically cut short, he continued his legacy of kindness and generosity by becoming an organ and tissue donor on March 31, 2016. He was just 24. His gifts saved seven lives and helped dozens more, including Chris Kowalski, the recipient of Cody’s heart.   

“Without Cody’s Gift I might not be here today,” said Chris. “It is the ultimate gift and blessing as I now live for two people.  Myself and Cody are together, beating as one.  I do all I can to honor him and his memory each day” 

Now, Kowalski, Wendy and her son, Nic Baron, are working with the Gift of Life Foundation to keep Cody’s memory alive and to spread the message of organ and tissue donation. They are partnering with Gift of Life Michigan as the Charity of the Game for the Detroit Red Wings vs. Ottawa Senators on Friday, April 1. It will be six years to the day that Chris first learned a donor’s heart was a good match for him.  

This is the inaugural season for this opportunity with the Red Wings. Guests will have access to Heritage Hall and opportunities to win a Red Wings gift basket, a chance to view warm-ups from the penalty box and the ever-popular Zamboni ride-along.  

Net proceeds from the Charity Hockey Game will benefit the Gift of Life Foundation. The funds raised will be used to support grieving donor families, as well as help transplant recipients with healthcare costs. Foundation programming also focuses on community education about organ, tissue, and eye donation.  

“We are always looking for new ways to connect with donor families, honor their loved ones, and spread the message of organ and tissue donation,” said Susan Rink, Chief of Philanthropy and Foundation Programs for the Gift of Life Foundation. “This partnership with Cody’s family and the Red Wings is special, and it will help a lot of people.” 

Space is limited to 100 reserved tickets in the Gondola Deck. To register, click here: Gift of Life Michigan Charity of the Game. 

Anyone interested in learning more about this event or setting up one of your own can contact Susan Rink at [email protected] or at 734-922-1350. 

Read more in the Gift of LifeLINES newsletter

Read More Posts
Dr. Bedi, Rachel Kuntzsch and Sarah Scantamburlo are new Gift of Life Governing Board members

Gift of Life Michigan announces new board members

New board members will bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the table Gift of Life…

Read More
2023 was a record year for Gift of Life Michigan with 578 organ donors and 1,858 tissue donors

Gift of Life Michigan smashes record for organ donors in 2023

More than 213,000 people join Donor Registry Gift of Life Michigan helped a record 578…

Read More
Melinda Herrera, Neuro ICU nurse at Sparrow Hospital, will receive Gift of Life's 2024 Nurse Champion Award

Sparrow Hospital nurse earns statewide donation champion award from Gift of Life Michigan

Malinda Herrera becomes a living donor to offer hope Malinda Herrera has been a passionate…

Read More
Patrick Pruitt's eyesight was saved by a cornea donor when he was a young child.

Cornea recipient celebrates his gift of sight

I’m here because 32 years ago I received a life-changing gift. Sight is an easy…

Read More
Terri Finch Hamilton's father was a donor-in-spirit at the end of his life.

My dad is a ‘donor in spirit’

I was sitting in my living room, numb with grief, when the phone rang. My…

Read More
Malinda Herrera of Lansing donated part of her liver in August to help a colleague’s spouse.

New Michigan law protects health coverage for living organ donors

Legislation should remove financial fears for those considering helping others Gift of Life Michigan celebrates…

Read More
Scroll to Top