“So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.”Read More
Even a bit of peace can prove elusive in the aftermath of a family member’s murder.
Losing a loved one to homicide sets in motion an ever-present grief compounded by the torment of unanswered questions, punishing social stigmas, grueling treks through the justice system and the agony of knowing another human being decided to pull the trigger.
In some cases, a homicide victim becomes a hero to someone.
According to Kirsten Heintz and Dana Tucker with the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA), a nonprofit that manages organ and tissue recovery and the donor registry in Louisiana, organ donations are final acts of selflessness, gifts that can reshape grim narratives.
“It’s something beautiful and positive that can come out of something tragic,” Tucker said.
PR News recognized LOPA as a finalist at its luncheon on May 23rd in New York City for using social media to create positive change in our world. 'The Heartbeat Heard 'Round the World', a video captured live by LOPA staff on Father's Day 2017, was a finalist in the PR News' category for Best Facebook Live Video. This video went viral and has been shared by international news outlets and has garnered over 150 million views in at least 19 languages worldwide.
The story began with a registered organ, eye and tissue donor, and hero, Abbey Conner.
Abbey became a donor 5 months before her dad, Bill Conner, decided he would ride his bicycle from Madison, Wisconsin to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Abbey saved the lives of 4 people. Bill Conner's mission for his bike ride was to raise awareness for registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor, just like Abbey did.
Along his route to Florida, Bill planned to stop near New Roads, Louisiana to meet his daughter's heart recipient, Loumouth "Roppy" Jack, Jr. Bill contacted LOPA asking if we could help coordinate the meeting and press communications that day. LOPA went live on the Facebook Page managed for Donate Life Louisiana, and the video's viewing stats immediately took off. Bill was named ABC's Person of the Week because of that video, and many other media outlets contacted LOPA for access to the video.
The team capturing the video on Father's Day 2017 included LOPA employees and students with LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication. These students and professors partner with LOPA each semester to help us educate the public about organ, eye and tissue donation. Donor Dad, Bill Conner, was able to join LOPA in New York City, along with a delegation from LSU Manship School of Mass Communication.
Abbey’s Ride For Life continues to reach millions. Thousands have registered to be an organ, eye and tissue donor because of that emotional Facebook Live video.
Girl Scouts across the country show a commitment to make the world a better place every day. Learning about and promoting organ, eye and tissue donation education is another way for Girl Scouts to do what they do best… change the world.
The Donate Life Girl Scout Patch Program materials have the facts and information about donation that you and your girls will need to pursue organ, eye and tissue donation advocacy.
If you are a part of a Louisiana Girl Scout Council or a Troop Leader, please email us at email@example.com for more information about the program and obtaining patches.
**This program does not represent an official partnership between Donate Life America and Girl Scouts of the United States of America.**
Most people have heard of the “wait list” for those who need a life-saving organ transplant. There is also a list for those who are willing to give the gift of life after they die – the donor registry.
Dr. Terry Welke has been the Medical Examiner for several regions around his parish, and has held the Coroner position in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana since 1996. Dr. Welke listens and is open to perspectives and information when collaborating with the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA) to improve organ, tissue and eye donation, and changed his position and practices to support pre-autopsy donation. He helped create the Coroner Sub-Committee at LOPA and continues to support and serve on this committee. The quote for the Calcasieu Parish Coroner office when it comes to donation is "Life Trumps Death Every Time".
Members of the Ozone Layers Quilt Guild recently created a quilt for Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency that honored 15 recent organ donors. From left are guild member Anita Scott; Lynette Lamarque Wilson and Chrissy Hagan, of the agency; past guild President Stephanie Drewes; and guild President Anne Sarphie.
Check out Quilt 15 on our website to read about each donor.
At the 25th anniversary Donate Life America Annual Conference, Bill Conner accepted the award as the 15th recipient of the James S. Wolf Courage Award.
You may recall, on Father’s Day this year, Bill rode his bike into the hearts of 100 million people worldwide when he stopped in Louisiana to meet his daughter, Abbey’s heart recipient, Loumonth Jack Jr. His 2600 mile bicycle ride, Abbey’s Ride for Life, was a journey for him to share his daughter’s story and spread education about the need to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor. Because of his hard work, Abbey’s heartbeat was the “heartbeat heard ‘round the world” inspiring thousands to register and sparking conversations about the gift of life.
The James S. Wolf M.D. Courage Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of organ, eye and tissue donation, has expressed personal commitment & enthusiasm in educating the public and has sought to reach audiences on a national level and demonstrated service above self attitude in their mission.
Watch Bill accept the James S. Wolf Courage Award below.
Bill Conner of Wisconsin is riding his bicycle 2600 miles across the country to honor his daughter and raise awareness about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. Bill’s daughter, Abbey, died in January of 2017. She was an organ donor. On Father’s Day 2017, Bill heard his daughter’s heart beat again.
After biking 1400 miles through several states, Conner stopped in Ventress, Louisiana to meet his daughter’s heart recipient, Loumonth Jack, Jr - also known as Jack or Roppy. Roppy suffered a heart attack at the age of 20. Doctors gave him days to live. Without Abbey’s heart, Roppy wouldn’t be alive today.
Bill and Roppy’s first meet – working with the LA Organ Procurement Agency – was captured ‘live’ on the ‘Donate Life Louisiana’ Facebook page. That video of the embrace, Bill listening to his daughter’s heart, the tears – has reached millions throughout the world– AND COUNTING!
Bill is back on the road. He is now focused on his final destination - Florida - where Abbey died and gave the Gift of Life. His target arrival date is July 10, 2017.
Bill’s says this ‘trip’ is part of his healing. Updates can be found by searching Abbey’s Ride for Life on GoFundMe. Tax deductible donations will be supporting Donate Life America and his bike trip across the country.
Steel beams, rising three stories alongside Interstate 12 south of Covington, represent the framework for a new building that will put St. Tammany Parish at the leading edge of organ and tissue recovery operations across Louisiana.
The Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, which has about 100 employees in two locations in Metairie, will be moving those operations to the North Shore next year, Chief Executive Officer Kelly Ranum said. The building, on the north side of I-12, just east of the U.S. 190 interchange, will serve as LOPA's state headquarters.
LOPA is excited to learn that it has been chosen as a finalist in Delta Style Magazine's Health Care Heroes in the Medical Non-Profit of the Year catagory. The event honoring local healthcare professionals, will be on Tuesday, June 20th at 6:30PM at the West Monroe Convention Center.
Update to this article.
At the awards event on 6/20 in West Monroe, LOPA was excited to accept a certificate showing the agency was chosen as a winner in the Delta Style Health Care Heroes - Medical Non-Profit. Thank you to Delta Style and all those that have nominated LOPA.
Kelly Ranum, CEO of LOPA says, “they are responsible for determining manner and cause of death for any unnatural deaths. Many of our potential donors are coroner cases, and we need authorization from the coroner before we can proceed with donation. Last year (2016) was the first year in LOPA’s history no organ donor cases were denied by a Louisiana coroner.”Read More