Personal Connection Inspires Radio Host’s Advocacy for Organ Donation

JJ Hayes, Green Ribbon Champion and radio host for KFDI 101.3

About two years after the wife of Wichita-based radio personality JJ Hayes received a lifesaving kidney transplant, he found a way to communicate his passion for organ donation: He became a Green Ribbon Champion. Through the Green Ribbon Campaign, JJ hopes to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to join the organ, eye and tissue donation registry.

JJ, who co-hosts the “JJ Hayes Morning Show” on 101.3 KFDI, is outspoken about his support for organ donation. He regularly educates local groups and organizations about kidney health on behalf of the National Kidney Foundation as well. Through his role at KFDI, he publicly shared the journey of his wife, Michelle, from the diagnosis of her kidney failure through her transplant.

Watching Michelle’s struggles with her health and her agonizing wait for a new kidney changed JJ’s life.

“When someone is going through an affliction, a condition, a disease that requires a new organ, their life is in complete upheaval,” he said. “When someone receives a donated organ, they return to a new normal.

“The second chance that organ donation provides is incredibly important for a seriously ill person. To be able to give someone a gift like that is priceless.”

— JJ Hayes, Green Ribbon Champion

Although JJ wished to serve as Michelle’s living kidney donor and was a match, other medical factors prevented him from donating. Still, he wants people to know living donation is possible and has the power to save a life. He also hopes to convey how easy and important it is to become a registered donor.

JJ and Michelle became close with Michelle’s living donor, Cindy. Despite both coming from smaller families, JJ and Michelle are happy to be a new part of Cindy’s large family. They see each together for dinners and other family gatherings.

“Cindy, her sons, her husband and all the extended family were so supportive of Cindy’s decision and so welcoming to Michelle and me, knowing that we are family now,” JJ said.

Watch JJ tell his story in the video below:

Together with Midwest Transplant Network and all the Green Ribbon Champions, JJ Hayes invites you to join your state’s organ donor registry and encourage others to do the same. Learn more about the types of donation, including the option to be a living donor, and the incredibly positive emotional experiences for organ donor families and transplant recipients.

Join the organ, eye and tissue donor registry today at

Editor’s note: After the interview for this story occurred, Michelle died following a battle with COVID-19. From Midwest Transplant Network staff members to JJ Hayes, Cindy and their families: Our thoughts of hope and peace are with you.