‘Standing Tall for Cody’

Cody Crandall

Cody Crandall

The envelope, addressed to my colleague and friend, Cody Crandall, was sitting on my desk in the sports department at The Post-Journal when I arrived at work Friday night. The return address indicated it was from the Warner Place Adult Day Care, which is located on the Lutheran campus on Jamestown’s east side.

Intrigued, I texted Cody, who is awaiting a heart transplant at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, for permission to open it and share the contents with him. Given the green light to do so, I found inside a stack of homemade cards, all of them sending the 24-year-old sportswriter warm thoughts and best wishes as he waits for a donor heart.

One card read:

“Dear Cody: God is with you. I am keeping you in my prayers. I hope you feel better soon.”

Another one included the following: “Get well soon. Thinking of you. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Wishing you the best. I love you, Cody.”

It’s been just over a week since a story detailing Cody’s situation appeared in this newspaper.

To say that the response has been overwhelming would be an understatement. Thanks to the presence of social media, Cody’s story has been shared on Facebook and on Twitter to people near and far. Hall-of-Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy included it on his blog in the Dayton Daily News; and Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post and Keith Olbermann, a sports and political commentator and writer, have retweeted it.

What it all means is how much people, including the folks at Warner Place Adult Day Care, do care about the Jamestown High School, Jamestown Community College and SUNY Fredonia graduate, and how they have recognized that simple acts of kindness can go a long way to inspiring those in need.

In Cody’s case, however, he’s the one who is providing the inspiration.

Although he first became sick in August and has been hospitalized at Strong Memorial since mid-November, the son of John and Lisa Crandall has decided to take the lead in promoting organ donor awareness. To that end, JCC, its athletic department and The Post-Journal have jumped on board to help.

They will be holding donor registration during Jayhawks’ basketball games this month, beginning with their women’s/men’s doubleheader Wednesday (5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.). Their remaining home games are Feb. 14 (5:30 and 7:30), Feb. 21 (5:30 and 7:30) and Feb. 24 (1 and 3). The month will be capped by the Section VI high school boys and girls basketball playoffs at the JCC gym, beginning Feb. 26 and running the entire week. There will be an estimated 10,000 people who will be at the gym at some point during the tournament.

For each college and sectional game, JCC will have a table set up with computer access so that people can register to become organ donors. “Standing Tall For Cody” wrist bands will be available for a donation and a 50-inch flat-screen TV, courtesy of Acme Appliance in Jamestown, will be raffled off. JCC’s basketball teams will also be wearing specially designed “Standing Tall for Cody” T-shirts during warmups.

Cody’s goal is to improve organ donor participation in New York State.

“Being here has made me realize how many people are in need of life-saving transplant surgeries,” he said in The Post-Journal story last week. “Also, through my own research and through the staff here at Strong, I have realized that New York has long had poor participation in organ donation, ranking last among the 50 states. I don’t think a lot of people realize how serious of an issue it is. I know I certainly didn’t before I became sick.”

I registered earlier this week by logging on to donatelife.ny.gov. It took me less than a minute to complete the form.

A minute to save a life, or lives, is worth your time.

Standing Tall for Cody.

Cards and letters to Cody can be addressed to: Strong Memorial Hospital, 601 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, 14642. Cody’s room number is 7-3427.

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