TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Jason Woody as the third Lightning Community Hero of the 2017-18 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. Woody, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Lions Eye Institute Foundation.
When Jason was in high school, his grandmother began losing her sight due to glaucoma. He knew he wanted to help others who experienced the same problem his grandmother faced. Around the same time, he worked at Tampa General Hospital as an intern. While assisting in a transplant procedure one day, Jason met a woman with kidney disease whose son had the only other matching kidney for her. This encounter sparked Woody's passion for the gift of organ donation.
For the past 27 years Jason has focused on curing preventable blindness, which is what inspired him to grow Tampa's Lion Eye Institute for Transplant and Research from a community eye bank into a world-renowned organization. Under Jason's leadership, more than 75,000 people across Tampa Bay and around the world have regained their sight because of Lions Eye Institute. It has also become one of the largest combined eye bank and ocular research centers in the world, putting Tampa at the forefront of this discipline. Beyond his work in eye banking, Jason has served on the Donate Life America board for nine years, during which more than 250,000 organ transplants have taken place.
Jason Woody becomes the 274th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $13.8 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. During the summer of 2016, the Vinik's announced that the community hero program will give away another $10-million over the next five seasons.