Bobby Champagne

August 14, 2006 was a typical Monday in our home. Timmy left work, and I started my work day in my home office. At 9 o'clock in the morning, Bobby pulled into the driveway. I took a break from work, and he and I had a wonderful talk.

He had been struggling financially and told me he and his girlfriend were learning to walk the money walk. He did his grocery shopping at mom's and left after about an hour of visiting.

Monday evening, my daughter and I were watching television. I asked her if she was interested in the program we were watching as I wanted to watch the news. She said no so we switched channels. The lead story was about a shooting outside a home in Marrero and the victim was Robert Champagne, taken to the trauma hospital in New Orleans. I felt all the air leave my body as I started screaming. My husband and I went to the hospital to be met by the emergency room physician who explained the injury and the expectation of death by morning. So we waited as relatives who also heard the news began arriving at the emergency room.

At 2 AM, we were asked to leave the facility. This was still right after Katrina and the hospital was make-shift, not structured to help survivors in any way. So, we left and drove the 10 minute drive home. We brewed a pot of coffee and talked.

Bobby at age 7

Bobby at age 7

Bobby loved being everyone's hero. He was always saving someone. We had known him to truly give someone the shirt off his back if he felt the person needed it. I told my husband the hospital was sustaining life long enough to talk with us about organ donation. The decision for us was easy because we knew Bobby would have wanted to help save anyone he could. When we arrived back at the hospital, we were escorted into a family waiting room and introduced to a LOPA rep. Kirsten was so gentle with her word selection. We interrupted her and told her we were going to donate Bobby's organs.

Because of Katrina's effects, the tissue samples had to be sent to Shreveport for processing. Kirsten said we would be kept informed of every movement Bobby made during the trip to Shreveport and back home. He was able to help four people with his donation. I can see the little smirk smile on his face knowing how proud he would be of his contribution to someone's life.