Arizona woman finds new lease on life in Haiti

Posted at 4:40 AM, Aug 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-11 07:40:38-04

Can helping others help save your life? A one-time Valley resident, who now produces Hollywood movies, says absolutely.

Kelly Woyan recently shared her story with Carey Pena on

Woyan went to high school in Arizona. Her rise to fame began with a food blog where she had more than 1 million followers. She wrote several cookbooks, and appeared on national television alongside people like Martha Stewart.

"It just kind of developed into this online, television, national presence," says Woyan. "I did a lot of writing for publications, 'Women's Day', 'Wall Street Journal'."

Woyan balanced it all with what she calls her most important job -- taking care of her family, including her five children.

Life was good, until it wasn't.

"My whole world blew apart."

After nearly 20 years of marriage, divorce upended Woyan's life and left her reeling, "When something like that happens, no one can prepare you for that kind of trauma, that kind of loss."

Suddenly on her own, Woyan was a single mother of five with a demanding Hollywood career. It wasn't the script she would have written for herself.

But Woyan says it was at her absolute lowest point, that help came in the form of a phone call.  A high school friend from Arizona invited her on a volunteer trip to Haiti with a Valley-based charity. 

"They saved me and they saved me when I was at my lowest low. I thought I was worthless. I felt I was at my lowest and still, I was enough for them," says Woyan. "It was this idea, where I could go to a country, and they seemingly have nothing, but they have everything, and I seemingly had everything, but inside I had nothing."

That one visit turned Woyan into a lifelong volunteer.

"It changed my life in every single way, and I can't imagine not doing that kind of work."

You can see more of Woyan's story and her entire interview with Carey Pena here.