The Gifted Life Podcast:
Conversations about organ, tissue and eye donation.
Improve your knowledge about organ, tissue and eye donation as your hosts Lori Steele, Sally Gentry and Joey Boudreaux have entertaining and informative conversations about donation. We address donation in the news, myths about donation, what's new in the community, new technologies, special guest interviews and much more.
Release Date 3/17/2017
Show Notes: On episode 52 of The Gifted Life Podcast, we are talking about eye donation for National Eye Donor Month. We launch this episode with Jason Woody, CEO of Lion’s Eye Institute for Transplant and Research(LEITR) and Chair for Donate Life America. Hear how LEITR is not only restoring sight through eye donation, but also conducting research to battle eye diseases. Ever wonder what a patient needing a cornea transplant goes through? LEITR’s Medical Director Dr. Lewis Groden educates about a recipient’s journey before, during and after cornea donation. Followed by donor mother, Dawn Futch, who tells our hosts how her family honored a decision that her son made to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, and the importance their family puts on continuing to give back to others. Plus, Dawn tells us more about her son, Michael-Gene Futch, and how he finally got his wish to see Africa. Guest and recipient, Samantha Shoemaker, takes our call to help answer a listener’s question about cornea donation with her first hand knowledge, right here on episode 52 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date 3/03/2017
Show Notes: Have you ever wondered about how "The List" works? We have referred to the waiting list in several episodes and asked Mike Pressendo, Director of Communications at United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), to explain how it all works. Mike also talks about an amazing new video UNOS created, How to Rock a Bucket List and Save a Life, and the real life stories it was based on. Next we welcome in studio guest, Ricky Fernandez, a transplant social worker with Tulane Medical Center. Hear about the myriad of services a transplant social worker provides to help patients, families and caregivers work through the transplant process. We honor one of the Heroes that inspired UNOS’ Bucket List video, Kristina Chesterman, and answer a listener’s question right here on episode 51 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date 2/17/2017
Show Notes: We have reached episode 50 of The Gifted Life Podcast. This is BIG! Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and her sister, WWL TV’s Sally-Ann Roberts, are here to share their story with us! The sisters made headlines when Sally-Ann donated her bone marrow cells to save Robin’s life. Learn more about how this duo “makes their mess their message” and teaches the world about selfless acts of donation. Learn all about registering as a bone marrow donor as Lori, Joey and Sally are joined by Mary Halet from Be The Match, the national bone marrow registry. Discover the differences between registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor and a bone marrow donor. Mary also dispels some myths about bone marrow donation, she educates us about the process, and chats about services and resources provided to both recipients and donors. We honor two Heroes in our Honoring a Hero segment. Hear about two friends who signed up on the Be The Match registry, and saved the lives of two strangers. Help The Gifted Life Podcast team celebrate episode 50 by sharing with your friends and encouraging them to subscribe so they don’t miss an episode.
Release Date 2/03/2017
Show Notes: On episode 49 of The Gifted Life Podcast we welcome guest George Weiner, CEO of Whole Whale, and technology expert. Learn how George and his company are examining national data to help register more organ, eye and tissue donors throughout the United States. He also shares tips for making an impact by spreading awareness and facts on social media. Then Lori and Sally welcome Lauren Puckett to the podcast. Lauren is currently waiting for a Hero to save her life. Her story touches on almost every aspect of donation and transplantation, and is a testimony of positivity you don’t want to miss. During our family support segment, Sally gives strategies for focusing on the good things, even when it feels like life is going all wrong. Kristi Mayfield is our honored Hero, and we answer a listener’s question about where they can get Donate Life goods here in episode 49 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date 1/20/2017
Show Notes: Episode 48 of The Gifted Life brings us a firsthand account of the magnificence of the Donate Life Rose Parade Float. Bonita Wilson talks to our hosts about her trip to Pasadena and what it was like to see her son’s likeness, Ricardo “Buck” Brown, on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float. Experience the excitement of this self-proclaimed “country girl” going to California for the first time. Then, guest Brianna Doby fills us in on some practical methods of volunteering and spreading Positive Rhetoric (also the namesake of her company). Brianna shares ideas about how to encourage others to register and produce informative conversations about organ, eye and tissue donation. Sally talks about four emotions often associated with grief: pity, sympathy, empathy and compassion. Find out how to decipher between each emotion, and navigate them when assisting a loved one. We honor Hero Anthony Washington and answer a listener’s question about corresponding with a donor’s family all right here on episode 48 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date 1/06/2017
Show Notes: Happy New Year! Episode 47 is our first episode of 2017. The Gifted Life Podcast Team thanks you for listening and sharing our podcast. We are excited to share one of the fantastic events that kicks off the New Year celebration in the Donate Life community, the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. The Donate Life Rose Float features donor floragraphs which are portraits created with floral materials. The 2017 Louisiana floragraph honoree is Ricardo “Buck” Brown. We catch up with his mother and his kidney recipient after they see his floragraph for the first time! Lori and Joey welcome guest Reecie Gilmore. She has a passion to urge parents to discuss organ, eye and tissue donation. This led her to work with Maddie’s Footprints, a nonprofit that helps parents who have lost an infant. Sally tackles the topic of anxiety and depression. We learn valuable information about the correlations between these two conditions. Clinton Ryan, our hero, is honored in a special way as his mother shares his story. Lori and Joey answer a listener’s question about getting involved in 2017. All that and more on this episode of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date 12/23/2016
Show Notes: Episode 46 features interviews with participants from the 6th Annual Rabalais Run for Life, including event sponsor, Paul Rabalais. Paul shares why he became involved with LOPA and why he continues to be such a strong advocate. You can also see pictures from the event, including the special 25th anniversary gift given to the family of Shawn Elizabeth. LOPA's CEO, Kelly Ranum, joins us in the studio to recap some of the successes and challenges we faced in 2016 and gives us a sneak preview of things to come in the new year. Then Sally explains the difference between stress and anxiety and how the holidays effect both in our family support segment. We honor Hero, Chad Griffin, and listen to a message we received from the mother of another Hero, Dru Mayon. Happy holidays from The Gifted Life Podcast team!
Release Date 12/09/2016
Show Notes: It’s episode 45 of The Gifted Life Podcast and Bo Credeur rejoins the podcast team as a special guest host. Lori and Bo interview an in-studio guest, Jarrius Robertson. This 14-year-old young man has a dynamic personality and has been making headlines throughout the country. Jarrius is a New Orleans Saints Super Fan and he is waiting for a life-saving liver transplant. His father Jordy and Dr. Maria-Stella Serrano from Ochsner Hospital for Children share Jarrius’ journey to transplant and his mantra, “It Takes Lives to Save Lives.” Then, we are joined by an advocate for donation in the classroom. Coach Chris Soileau from Walker Freshman High School describes how learning more about organ, eye & tissue donation has driven him to register as a donor. Sally concludes her two-part segment on addiction and shares some resources to help combat this epidemic. We honor a Hero, Jason Moody, and answer a listener’s question right here on episode 45 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date 11/25/2016
Show Notes: On episode 44 of The Gifted Life Podcast, Advanced Practice Coordinator Bo Credeur joins Lori and Sally as a special guest host. Join us as we take you on an audible journey to Oklahoma. First, learn about our visiting host, Bo Credeur, and his role in saving lives. Then President and CEO, Jeff Orlowski, from LifeShare of Oklahoma fills us in on how Oklahoma is working to save more lives. Learning from others is a great way to ignite conversations about organ, eye, and tissue donation. It’s Decision Week in Oklahoma! Katy Smith, Director of Marketing and Communications for LifeShare of Oklahoma, tells us about Oklahoma’s campaign to spark more registrations during the Thanksgiving Holiday each year. Sally has a plethora of great information when she opens a two-part discussion on addiction(addiction resources). You can learn more about the staggering statistics related to addiction in this episode. We honor Decision Week’s Oklahoma Hero, Karson Baker, and a call we received from an Oklahoma donor mom is truly touching! We enjoyed learning more about LifeShare of Oklahoma and know you will too. All that and more on episode 44 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date 11/11/2016
Show Notes: On episode 43 of The Gifted Life Podcast we hear from two moms and learn more about personalities. Our hosts welcome Tara Storch, mother to Hero Taylor Storch. Smiles all around as we hear about Taylor and the non-profit started in her name, Taylor’s Gift Foundation. We also learn about a special program started to help donor families. Brittany Elliser gives us an update on her baby boy Briggs after his liver transplant. We are excited to hear him say a special word as Brittany tells us about the milestones Briggs is achieving thanks to the Gift of Life. In part 2 of Sally’s examination of personality, she analyzes Lori and Joey. What will we hear about our host’s personalities? Tune in to find out. We honor Hero Katelyn Glenn and answer a listener’s question about a recipient contacting their donor’s family. All that and more on episode 43 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date 10/28/2016
Show Notes: On episode 42 of The Gifted Life Podcast our hosts catch up with Sue Finkam and Kit Werbe from Indiana Donor Network to learn more about the Driven 2 Save Lives campaign. IndyCar Racer, Stefan Wilson is driven by his passion to honor his brother and Hero, Justin Wilson. He connected with IDN to bring education about Donate Life to the eyes of 400,000 race fans during the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. The number of people reached by this campaign will astound you! Next our hosts talk with a heart recipient, 23-year-old Dylan Sepulvado. Hear about his journey to transplant, and how 13 years with the Gift of a heart from a Hero changed his life in powerful ways. Sally opens a discussion about personalities with Lori and Joey. Learn more about the development of a personality and how it adapts to environments. Kelly Theriot is our honored Hero, the hosts answer a question about sharing a family’s words to pay tribute to Heroes, and a special duo leave a message to celebrate their Hero Mickey Fazio. All right here on episode 42 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date 10/14/2016
Show Notes: Episode 41 of The Gifted Life Podcast is a flashback episode where you get to hear more from participants at the 2016 Transplant Games of America. Lori introduces us to 3 team members from Team Australia. Hear about Team Australia’s trip to America and how the games differ from the games in their country! We also hear from a cornea recipient, Bree. It’s her first trip to the games. Lori catches up with the Transplant House of Cleveland to learn about their work bringing comfort to recipients and their families. Recipient Toni details what it felt like to win a silver medal and it’s all because someone said YES to organ, eye & tissue donation. The Gifted Life Podcast team also talks to Michael, a previous podcast guest from episode 28. He is a heart recipient and competitor who is living life to the fullest 25 years after his transplant. Our hosts honor Hero Byron “Beau” McDowell by reading a submission from his devoted wife and answer a question about blood types and donation. All these remarkable stories and more on episode 41 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date 9/30/2016
Show Notes: We have a round of special in-studio guests and even a guest host in Episode 40 of The Gifted Life Podcast. Kirsten Heintz takes hold of the microphone to join Joey and Sally for this episode where AATB, American Association of Tissue Banks, delegates have teamed up with The Gifted Life crew to provide remarkable stories about the healing power of tissue donation. First we welcome Erin Morton from RTI Donor Services to learn about tissue donor Mike Erickson and one of his recipients Colin Lepley. Then our hosts welcome Colleen Kilkenny of Allosource to tell us about donor Garrett Brockway from Iowa. Learn about Garrett's Path and how 10-year-old Garrett changed the path of others when his parents said YES to organ, eye and tissue donation. Mary Beth Aubry from Community Tissue Services follows to talk about tissue recipient Brittany and her journey from a knee injury to a healed knee, thanks to a Gift from someone very special to her. The Gifted Life team welcomes Blake Smith, Tissue Manager with LOPA, to discuss how donors are honored prior to tissue recovery. This episode’s honored Hero is Thomas Gray, submitted by his mom Sarah Gray. Learn how Thomas has a life everlasting through donation and a listener’s question about tissue donation is answered right here on episode 40 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date 9/16/2016
Show Notes: Episode 39 of The Gifted Life Podcast takes us on a journey back to the 2016 Transplant Games of America in Cleveland. The podcast team shares stories and interviews from the trip. We hear from Marilyn with Lifeline of Ohio. Learn about what the games have done to boost donation awareness and registrations for Ohio. Then Lori talks to Mrs. Peanut, a mascot for Team Georgia! Mrs. Peanut is cheering for her team and son-in-law, Joe. Joe received a heart 20 years ago from a special Hero. Lung recipient Mike, from Team Georgia, talks to the podcast crew about his experience taking part in the games and then Lori catches up with the Babins from Louisiana. They share the story of their son, Blake Babin. This episode is an awesome glimpse of how organ, eye and tissue donation can change and save lives. Plus, Sally tells us more about children and grief. Our hosts answer a listener’s question and honor Hero Bobby Nation. All right here on episode 39 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date 9/02/2016
Show Notes: Episode 38 of The Gifted Life Podcast opens with a series of guests that take us on a virtual journey to a new interactive and digital Silent Heroes Wall within Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. Find out how the project began, listen to a description of the wall, and hear from one mother who visits often. Her son is a hero honored on the wall. Then we hear about a little Hero, Austin Rose Wiggingtion, who gave the Gift of Life through neonatal donation. LOPA’s Laura LeGuin and Austin’s mom, Kelsey, join our hosts so you can learn more about the power of this special gift. Hero, Amy Fox is honored and we answer a listener’s question about bone marrow donation right here in episode 38 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date 8/19/2016
Show Notes: Episode 37 of The Gifted Life tells you how to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor in a new way, what its like to have 30 years of life after transplant, and what it takes to help a child overcome grief. First, our hosts welcome Donate Life America President and CEO, David Fleming, to discuss an amazing new donor registration option coming to the iPhone! Learn how iPhone users, or as David says, “iPhone-ites”, can say YES when iOS 10 releases. Then, a journey back to nearly 30 years ago! Mr. Ezell Holland tells us how the gift of a kidney in 1986 changed the course of his life. Family support takes a look into assisting grieving children. Sally introduces us to Sharon Wesberry, child life specialist from Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. Sharon shares how the staff reaches out to children who are coping with end of life events. Christopher Solomon is our honored hero, we answer a question about donating your body to science and donation, and we hear a voicemail from a podcast fan. All this and more in episode 37 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date 8/05/2016
Show Notes: On episode 36 of The Gifted Life we take you on a virtual podcast journey to Mississippi! We are always learning from our partners throughout the nation. In this episode, we have a discussion with Kevin Stump. Kevin is the CEO of MORA, the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency. From a new building to continued education, learn all the wonderful ways MORA is working to save and heal more lives in their state. Then we talk Super Heroes! MORA’s Chuck Stinson chats with Joey, Lori and Sally to explain how Mississippi citizens are learning that “It’s Super Easy” to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor! Sally talks grieving styles and how men and women differ when faced with grief. Miracles can occur thanks to heroes. MORA shares a Hero with us from their Mississippi Miracle series. MORA Hero Chase Wroten is honored and when you ear about a picture of Chase from his high school years, you will get chills! We learn more about why transplants become necessary; thank MORA for sharing so much from Mississippi, and more on episode 36 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date 7/22/2016
Show Notes: Episode 35 of The Gifted Life Podcast shines a spotlight on 2 national observances that focus on the need for more registered organ, eye and tissue donors in all communities. Our hosts first welcome Amanda Hollowell. She tells us about AMAT, the Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation. ECHO, an acronym for Every Community Has Opportunity, and the 20th anniversary of National Minority Donor Awareness Week. Then we learn more about outreach efforts and challenges in multicultural communities when Joey, Lori and Sally introduce us to Brandi Ahonsi. Brandi is the chairperson for the AMAT African American Workgroup. Learn some great tips for reaching out and sparking discussion about organ, eye and tissue donation. Then, Sally gives us helpful guidelines for overcoming guilt and blame when we lose a loved one. Wayne Gomez is our honored hero on this episode. Wayne’s mom says, “Just knowing that part of our loved one still survives within another is somewhat, a comfort.” The Gifted Life Podcast crew covers awesome information and answers a listener’s question. This is an episode you don’t want to miss!
Release Date 7/08/2016
Show Notes: In episode 34 of The Gifted Life podcast, our crew takes you on a journey back to June of 2016 for the Transplant Games of America. The games took place in Cleveland, Ohio. Hear remarkable stories from several Team Louisiana athletes! Lori chats with a couple of dynamic recipient dancers, a bowler, a basketball player, and a runner with her donor’s family. These are some of the great stories about how life is transformed by the Gift of Life. Our hosts then honor hero, Emily Christen, and answer a listener’s question about how to find more information. You can find the Quilts on our website, along with seeing more from the Transplant Games on our podcast page or YouTube channel. Enjoy this installment and be on the lookout for more stories from the crew’s trip to Cleveland in future episodes of The Gifted Life!
Release Date 6/24/2016
Show Notes: Episode 33 of The Gifted Life Podcast opens with a guest who has a very special story and talent, heart recipient Charles Henderson. Hear about how he came to know his Hero, David “Dudu” Cologne. When he serenades our hosts, smiles erupt! Another recipient joins us, guest Tanya Smith. She tells us how the Gift from a tissue donor changed her life forever. Sally focuses on another form of grief, complicated grief. Learn how to recognize and break out of complicated grief. Our hosts honor Hero Robert Myers from the new Quilt section of our website, answer an important question from a listener, and more right here on episode 33 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date 6/10/2016
Show Notes: Episode 32 of The Gifted Life begins by celebrating the 2016 Transplant Games of America! Joey, Lori and Sally welcome Lifebanc CEO, Gordon Bowen, and talk with him about the excitement surrounding the games in Cleveland. Then, an in-studio visit by athletes bound for Cleveland! Team Louisiana co-captain and Olympic Gold Medalist, Kim Black, plus athletes Tyrone Cooper and Warren Whittington chat about what it means to go for the gold in Ohio and how it honors the Gift of Life they have been given. Sally opens a discussion about coping with grief in the workplace by asking Joey to share his experience. Learn some resources, and how hobbies can be a viable coping mechanism. Our hosts honor hero, Carl LaPoint, and an answer a listener’s question about registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor. All that and more, right here on episode 32 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date 5/27/2016
Show Notes: In episode 31, The Gifted Life is sharing how stories about the power of organ, tissue, and eye donation reach communities in unique ways. Our hosts first welcome LSU graduate, Kaitlyn King. Kaitlyn was a member of 225 Communications in an LSU marketing class. Hear how the group plastered their campus with information and facts to register more donors! Sally, Joey and Lori also speak with the parents of a sweet baby boy, and hero, John Clarke Perry. 1 heart + 2 young sons + 4 loving and faith-filled parents = countless lives being changed by John Clarke forever. Then, Sally tells you about the history of donor Quilts, and how it’s one of the special ways that families can honor their hero. We honor hero Dustin Gordon. We answer a question and play a message from another pair of listeners who have a heart-warming story of love, and it’s all right here on episode 31 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date 5/13/2016
Show Notes: In episode 30 we have a special in-studio guest, a recipient tells her story and more! First up, we welcome Elling Eidbo, CEO of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO). Hear all about AOPO’s beginnings, standards, advocacy and how they assist Organ Procurement Organizations throughout the nation. It’s all part of AOPO’s mission and vision. Sally then introduces us to Fran Johnson, a liver recipient. Listen close as Fran shares her experience releasing a butterfly in honor of her donor and with her donor’s family. It’s very moving. Our hosts honor hero, Mike Dowty by reading the beautiful words written by his daughter. Joey answers a listener’s question. Lori and Sally talk to a recipient, Wendy Lipsey, fresh off the stage. Wendy kicked up her heels in honor of her second chance at life. All here on episode 30 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date 4/29/2016
Show Notes: It’s episode 29 of The Gifted Life podcast! Joey, Lori and Sally round out the celebration of National Donate Life Month. From April 1st through the 31st every state in the USA celebrates the Gift of Life. Listen to this “best of” episode covering National Donate Life Month with a series of sound bites. The Gifted Life team visited multiple Donate Life flag raising ceremonies, the Donor Memorial Picnic, and other celebrations. Hear what donation means to the people touched by the Gift of Life, and why it’s so important to register as an organ, eye & tissue donor. Donate Life America’s Melissa Devenny has a special message, families honor their loved ones, recipients honor their second chance at life, we honor Hero Heidi Johnson, and we are especially honored to share all these remarkable stories with you here on episode 29 of The Gifted Life podcast.
Release Date: 4/15/2016
Show Notes: It’s National Blue and Green Day and episode 28 of The Gifted Life podcast continues to celebrate National Donate Life Month. Need ideas for going blue and green today? Joey, Lori and Sally have some creative ways for you to show off blue and green, you may even win a prize! Then, Jessica Roth with LifeGift in Texas shares a family’s amazing story about both a new life and giving the Gift of Life. Sally grabs the microphone to introduce us to a young man and recipient, Michael Davidson, so you can hear his experience living with his gift. Michael received a new heart, remarkably, 25 years ago. A mother says, “peace and comfort through donation” as our hosts honor hero, Kelly Thrash. A listener’s question is answered, a little boy excitedly tells his mom how he can be just like his Uncle Justin, and learn more about registering as an organ, eye & tissue donor on episode 28 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 4/01/2016
Show Notes: Episode 27 of The Gifted Life podcast kicks off National Donate Life Month! In April, we honor donor heroes, their families and the lives saved by those generous donors. Our hosts are joined by Melissa DeVenny from Donate Life America to talk about the work their agency does throughout the nation, National Blue and Green Day and how the beautiful sunflower is this year’s beacon for Donate Life awareness. Suzanna Morton, LOPA Community Educator, shares her excitement for Ryan’s Run 5k. Sally, Joey and Lori have a great discussion about how laughter can assist in times of grief. Then our hosts tell you more about the inspiration for Ryan’s Run 5k, hero Ryan Viator. A listener’s question is answered, our hosts highlight a plethora of information for National Donate Life Month, hear from the son of a recipient who celebrates his mom’s second chance at life, and why it’s important to tell everyone about registering as an organ, eye & tissue donor. Enjoy and share this episode, number 27 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 3/18/2016
Show Notes: The Gifted Life podcast continues to focus on National Eye Donor Month. Our hosts are joined by Billy Buras, Executive Director of the Southern Eye Bank. Hear about Southern Eye Bank’s annual event to honor cornea donors and their families during this national observance. What do you say to yourself? Sally talks about ways to enhance your inner positivity in the Family Support segment. The LeBleu Family, and their 4 beautiful girls are our honored heroes. Then, Joey answers a listener’s question so you can learn more about tissue banks and their role in the donation process. Plus, Lori lets you listen as she chats with a sweet 8 year old girl who has an important message for us all. All that and more in episode 26 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 3/04/2016
Show Notes: The Gifted Life podcast: It's our 25th episode! Joey, Lori and Sally reminisce about past episodes, the amazing guests, and how the podcast has grown to reach individuals across the globe. Plus, it is National Eye Donor Month! Our hosts let you listen in on a conversation they had with the Eye Bank Association of America’s President & CEO, Kevin Corcoran. Learn more about cornea donation and the Association’s work throughout the nation. Then, Sally talks about honoring all Heroes that say YES to donation in our Family Support segment. Our hosts tell you about Dustin Mason in our favorite part of the podcast "Honoring a Hero”, and a volunteer calls our hotline to leave a message for all listeners. All right here in episode 25 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 2/19/2016
Show Notes: The Gifted Life podcast launches with a focus on quality performance in organ and tissue recovery. Joey and Lori welcome guest, Dean Kappel, CEO at Mid-America Transplant Services. Dean talks about MTS and the organization’s journey to earning the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award. Family Support expert, Sally Gentry, concludes the three-part series on suicide as she welcomes Dr. Frank Campbell to have a discussion about post-vention and reaching out to people affected by a suicide. He talks about the LOSSteam and how they can make an incredible impact for a family that is coping with suicide. Our hosts honor Hero Connor Marcel and answer a listener’s question. All that and more in episode 24 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 2/05/2016
Show Notes: In episode 23 of The Gifted Life podcast, Joey and Lori begin with an interesting news story about a very popular mobile app that is allowing users to swipe and register to save a life. Community Educator, Lana Stevens, joins us in the studio to talk about the Marsh Mad Dash for Life, and how much fun you can have by signing up to take part. Our family support expert, Sally Gentry, continues with part 2 of her informative series on suicide. A powerful segment that is all about coping as Robert Boone joins us to talk about his son, Don Boone. Our hosts wrap up episode 23 honoring hero, Rixby LeBeouf, and answering a listener’s question. Sit back, learn more and enjoy episode 23 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 1/22/2016
Show Notes: In episode 22 of The Gifted Life podcast, Joey and Lori are excited to welcome director Ty Manns. He is a movie-making partner of Donate Life America. His movie is The Wish - A Story of Hope, Faith and Generosity. This movie is a beautiful love story that educates about organ donation. You can learn more about the movie and where you’ll be able watch it this year. Family services coordinator, Sally Gentry, joins our hosts to begin a 3 part series discussing suicide. Learn some of the myths and misconceptions, plus resources to access when in need. Hero, Kelly Johnson, is honored and Sally takes the microphone to answer a listener’s question. All that and more on this episode of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 1/08/2016
Show Notes: Episode 21 of The Gifted Life podcast includes a treat for all of our listeners! Our LSU student advocates for donation become our guest hosts! These award-winning students are members of Core Communications, a student run marketing firm at LSU. Lori welcomes you all and then Dominique, Alex, and Savannah grab the microphones to talk about their experiences in learning and promoting donation. Hear all about the events hosted by Core Communications and a conversation with their professor, Jinx Broussard. Past students also call in. It’s an awesome episode packed with ideas that you can use to promote organ, eye & tissue donation in your community. Hero Christopher Gregory is honored and much more in episode 21 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 12/25/2015
Show Notes: A very special day for us because this is episode 20 of The Gifted Life podcast! In this holiday episode you’ll hear from LOPA’s CEO, Kelly Ranum. She’ll reflect with Lori and Joey on LOPA’s donation milestones and her career. Then our hosts are talking about coping with grief during the holidays with Sally, and she has some great insights for all listeners. Christen Roberts, who is Donate Life Float floragraph honoree Matt Walsh’s sister, chats with the hosts as the family prepares to travel to Pasedena for the Rose Parade. Also, we honor Hero Dru Mayon. Happy holidays from The Gifted Life podcast team!
Release Date: 12/11/2015
Show Notes: In episode 19 of The Gifted Life you can hear why a high school held a fundraiser, which agency ensures safety in tissue donation, who is a special honoree in a national parade, and how to deal with grief. First, Lori tells Joey how and why Dutchtown High School raises funds to support our Donate Life education efforts. Then our hosts welcome Jason LoVerdi from AATB, the American Association of Tissue Banks, to learn how the agency works to establish the standards for healing tissue transplants. Treasure Life’s Journey, is this year’s theme for the Donate Life Rose Float. Learn more about the float and Louisiana’s floragraph honoree, Matthew Walsh. Our resident expert, Sally Gentry, begins a conversation so we can learn more about grief. Our hosts honor donor Hero, Alex Corcoran, and an answer to a listener’s question all here on episode 19 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 11/26/2015
Show Notes: In episode 18 you get to hear families giving thanks to Heroes in this holiday episode of The Gifted Life. This is a very special episode filled with deeply personal testimonials from families directly connected to organ, eye and tissue donation. But first, Lori and Joey welcome Sally Gentry from LOPA family services so she can tell you how to get connected with assistance if needed during the holidays. Then, listen to our recorded series of inspirational dedications. The power of donation is broadcasted; our hosts honor Hero Jeffrey Scott Dennis, and most of all we give thanks in episode 18 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 11/13/2015
Show Notes: Episode 17 of The Gifted Life is where you can learn about some of the amazing breakthroughs in tissue donation. Hear how skin donations are making a difference in the healing process for diabetics and breast cancer patients when guest, Kent Bockes, joins Lori and Joey. National Donor Sabbath is an annual weekend observance in November where faith-based organizations can spread the word about the power of donation. Hero, Laci Taquino, is honored by both our hosts, and through a special dance competition. Plus, your questions are answered here on episode 17 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 10/30/2015
Show Notes: Joey and Lori are chatting about a very special milestone and saving sight with Jamie Collier of the Baton Rouge Regional Eye Bank. After, our hosts talk to racer, Kenton Koch. He’s a winner on the track and has a special reason why he is a champion for organ, eye and tissue donation. Robyn Doiron is our honored donor hero, and your questions get answers here on episode 16 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 10/16/2015
Show Notes: Listen, and you’ll hear The Gifted Life in a new way as our podcast is recorded live for the first time in front of a studio audience. First, heart recipient, Jamie Napolitano, honors her donor, Cameron, and his family. There is a part that sounds low when Jamie starts, but hang in there for a minute because when her microphone gets set, you don't want to miss Jamie honoring her hero! LOPA’s Sally Gentry talks about how donor families communicate with a loved one’s recipients. What is it like to live with a face that isn’t yours? Learn from face transplant recipient, Richard Norris. And, the audience has questions for Lori, Joey and our guests. It is exciting, fast-paced, live education during episode 15 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 10/02/2015
Show Notes: The Gifted Life podcast is off and running with events. 2 guests, a double transplant, 25 years ago; hear from transplant physician, Dr. Philip Boudreaux, and the very 1st kidney/pancreas transplant recipient in Louisiana, Charles Garner. Then Doug Cossman, kidney recipient, talks about how his friend, Shelby, saved his life and how Doug continues to honor his hero. Technology helps you sign up to be an organ, eye & tissue donor anytime, our hosts honor hero, Jeremy Cole, a question leads a professional to the facts about donation, all on episode 14 of The Gifted Life podcast.
Release Date: 9/18/2015
Show Notes: The Gifted Life podcast gives you so much information to learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation beginning with the Recovery segment where you can learn how many people LOPA works with to make life happen. A husband and wife hold hands in the hospital. Hear from living donor, Vanessa Anderson, when she joins Lori and Joey to talk about how she saved her husband’s life. Electronic records keep LOPA focused for the technology segment when LOPA’s Michelle Duvernay chats with the hosts. Hero, Jordan Aucoin, is honored, questions, answers all in episode 13 of The Gifted Life podcast.
Release Date: 9/04/2015
Show Notes: The Gifted Life podcast is packed with powerful information and guests. Listen to a doctor’s perspective about donation and why he is a champion for organ donation when Lori and Joey talk to Dr. Cullen Hebert. A true dynamic duo joins our hosts. Pulitzer Prize Winner, Jeffrey Marx, and Olympic Gold Medalist, Carl Lewis, have been champions for donation for more than 2 decades, all in the name of Jeffrey’s sister, Wendy Marx. Hear about Wendy, these two friends’ motivation to spread the word about the Gift of Life, and how they reach people throughout the nation. LOPA’s employees stay connected, virtually, to keep donation in Louisiana moving forward regardless of natural disasters or power outages and our own Michelle Kellum tells you about this cool tech tool. Hero, Austin Shoumaker, is honored, events, questions, answers and so much more in episode 12 of The Gifted Life podcast.
Release Date: 8/21/2015
Show Notes: The Gifted Life podcast kicks off with news about a little boy who’s unique transplant story has the whole country’s attention, and why monkey bars are so important to him. Sally Gentry joins Lori and Joey to talk about the services LOPA provides to donor families. How about setting sail to raise donation awareness? Learn from special guest, Hans Nelson, when you can plan to have a great vacation all in the name of his Hero. Visit Christian's Legacy. Lori and Joey welcome guest Cheryl Puckett to discuss an emerging technology that is helping LOPA heal more lives through tissue donation, and they also honor hero, Hunter Roy, all here in episode 11 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date: 8/07/2015
Show Notes: The Gifted Life podcast is full of event information so you can help us promote donation in Louisiana. Joey has a short history lesson where you can learn about brain death and how physicians determine it. Libbie Harrison is the host’s special guest. She chats about her amazing hero, his GolfForeLife, and all the fun you can have teeing off for organ donation awareness. Gadgets are making a huge difference in how many lives are saved, Lori and Joey honor hero, Christian Nelson, a listener wonders who pays for a living donor’s surgery to give the gift of life to another, and if you, or someone you know, need a speaker for a class or event our hosts tell you where to go. There’s a whole lot in episode 10 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date: 7/24/2015
Show Notes: The Gifted Life podcast is full of special guests. We speak with Cheryl McGee-Hills,Community Educator for LOPA, to get an update on the party with a purpose that is Essence Fest. In the recovery segment, we speak with Jessica Roth of Nebraska Organ Recovery to learn more about a 3-year-old Nebraska girl who helped save the lives of other children after a battle with brain cancer. In the community segment, Monica and Caroline Fazio spread the word about the power of donation as they tell the story of Michael "Mickey" Fazio. A new technology, TransNet, will improve the current practice of packaging and labeling organs. Hero Michael "Mickey" Fazio is honored and we answer a listener's question; when someone is a living donor, who pays for the donor's surgery? Get that answer and more all in episode 9 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date: 7/10/2015
Show Notes: On The Gifted Life podcast, your hosts welcome guest Chrissy Hagan, LOPA’s CAO, to chat about a series of awards that have put LOPA on a national stage for workplace excellence. In the recovery segment, find out what testing is performed before an organ is transplanted. Guest, Larabee Thompson, is quizzing Lori and Joey to see how much they know about the CENLA Trivia Challenge, and you can learn the answers with them. Hear about technology experts that are in high demand and supply assistance to so many, hero Garrett Thompson is honored, and a listener questions if it’s normal for donor families to meet a loved one’s recipient. Get that answer and more all in episode 8 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date: 6/26/2015
Show Notes: On The Gifted Life podcast, Lori and Joey are talking donation news with Sheron Raymond, and how Essence Festival in New Orleans is the place to register hundreds of donors each year. Listen to find out how you can take part in the festivities by volunteering or sharing a donation story to inspire others this July 4th weekend. Hear a transplant doctor’s perspective. Dr. Emily Ahmed joins your hosts to discuss kidney transplantation. An LSU baseball star makes a statement by simply wearing a Donate Life bracelet at a game. Wendy Lipsey, transplant recipient, calls in to chat about how her friend, Alex Bregman, has inspired thousands with the Donate Life message. Plus, social media takes over our technology segment, hero Justin Harrison is honored, a myth is busted, a question is answered, and more all in episode 7 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date: 6/12/2015
Show Notes: On The Gifted Life podcast, Joey has an announcement, and Lori doesn’t know what it is. Listen, and you can find out with her! Guest, Suzanna Morton, talks art, education, and how it’s helping raise awareness for donation. Lori and Joey give details about organs that are recovered for transplant, and bust another myth. Citizens in the small city of Springhill are learning lots about donation all thanks to the city’s hospital, Springhill Medical Center. Guest, Chillon Latiolais, joins the show to chat about that powerful partnership. Learn how technology in transplant has grown from faxes and pagers, to fully electronic; hero Alexis Porta is honored, another special guest jumps onto the podcast to answer a listener’s question, all in episode 6 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date: 5/29/2015
Show Notes: On The Gifted Life podcast, learn more about how 3 Louisiana heroes are honored on a national stage at the Rose Parade in Pasadena. Hosts, Lori and Joey, tell you how organs are matched to recipients, and who LOPA works with to make life happen. Lori and Joey tackle another myth; can I decide who gets my organ if I become a donor? A community partner takes the wheel to spread education about donation; Road Scholar’s owner, Chris Sibley, calls in. A new electronic tool, used by LOPA, is calculating to save more lives, Lori and Joey honor hero, Kenneth Douglas Morris; our duo talks about getting active for donation education this summer and more in episode 5 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date: 5/15/2015
Show Notes: On this episode of The Gifted Life podcast; our statewide team, Donate Life Louisiana, is always working to educate and register donors. In news, hear how you can be "One in a Million” by helping a DLL team member "fill a heart” to reach a registry goal. LOPA’s Blake Smith joins your hosts, Lori and Joey, to discuss tissue donation and how it heals lives. "What does it cost to donate?” This myth gets busted. Then another college semester means a new class that works to register donors! LSU student lifesaver, Courtney McGuffee, tells our hosts how her class project inspires. Learn how a machine assists in extending the time for kidneys to be transplanted, Lori and Joey honor hero, Antonio Bennett; our duo answers a listener’s question and more in episode 4 of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Release Date: 5/01/2015
Show Notes: On The Gifted Life podcast, jump right into the phenomenal news about the National Blue and Green Day campaign in Louisiana with Lori and Joey. Then onto our Recovery segment, learn about eye donation with our guest, Southern Eye Bank’s Colleen Oltmann. Is donation against my religion? Our hosts bust another myth by arming you with the facts. Estate planning attorney, Paul Rabalais, calls in during the community segment to tell you why he works with LOPA to raise donation awareness by putting on the Rabalais Run for Life 5k. The Technology segment covers new software that is helping LOPA save more lives. Lori and Joey honor hero, Tabitha McLindon; answer a listener’s question, and more, all on episode 3 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 4/17/2015
Show Notes: On The Gifted Life podcast, your hosts Lori and Joey start you off with news. Hear about sweet baby Briggs’ possible need for a liver, and a new place of serenity dedicated at a South Louisiana hospital - La Place de Vie. Then in our Recovery segment, learn even more about how hospitals are finding many ways to bring donation awareness to their campuses when Lori and Joey talk to guest, Shawn-Paul Harrison. Want to know more about recovery? Joey explains donation after cardiac death. Listen close to find out which donation myth our hosting duo will bust in this episode. Plus, when the Community Segment begins, LSU student, Ashley Porcuna, calls in to chat about a special campaign her class produced to register donors on campus, and then find out how you can get LOPA involved in your event. The Technology segment covers an exciting technological advance that will add ease to registering donors in Louisiana. Lori and Joey honor hero, Ryan Scott Cart; answer your questions, and more, all on episode 2 of The Gifted Life.
Release Date: 4/03/2015
Show Notes: April is National Donate Life Month and a Louisiana donor, Shawn Elizabeth Guillot, is honored nationally. Lori and Joey give tips on how to stay informed about community events. Joey gives some insight about brain death. One of the biggest myths about organ donation is busted. April 17th is National Blue & Green Day, Lori and Joey give some tips on how to gear up for the big event (www.donationmerchandise.com). We have a very special guest, Blayne McRae. He shares the story of his son Smith William McRae. Some benefits of our new donor registry website are discussed. We pay tribute to Shawn Elizabeth Guillot with our hero segment. A question is answered about the organ donor waiting list and much more on our first episode of The Gifted Life Podcast.
Production Team: Kirsten Heintz, Chillon Latiolais, and Troy Perez.
Meet the Hosts
Describe your role at LOPA:
My job is to maximize organ and tissue donation awareness and increase Louisiana’s donor registry. I work with our partners in schools, civic groups, businesses, churches, etc. to reach audiences interested in having a healthy discussion about donation. We have a strong volunteer base – made up of donor family members, recipients and those waiting on a transplant. Together, we give as much information as possible. Our hope is that those listening will see donation in a positive light and make an educated decision about donation – when they are ready to do so. We want them to take what they learned during their time with us and bring that information back home. We hope it sparks ‘another’ conversation…and another…and another.
What do you enjoy most about your work or working for LOPA?
I work closely with donor family members, recipients and those waiting on a transplant. Spending so much time together, we really become ‘a family’. I love what I learn about life from each and everyone of my new family members. They live life to the fullest! They don’t sweat the small stuff! They want to ‘pay kindness forward’! They encourage hugs! They share emotions! They want to make our world a better place! All that – hopefully – rubs off on me, my husband and our children!
Lori Steele officially joined the life-saving team called the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (or LOPA) in 2010. Before that, Lori worked in TV News. She was a TV anchor and reporter for TV stations in the Lafayette and Baton Rouge areas. Starting in 1999, Lori ‘unofficially’ became LOPA’s media liaison – helping to promote organ donation awareness when possible. Lori fell in love with LOPA’s mission after covering a ‘Celebration of Life’ as a fledgling reporter. At that event honoring a HERO – an organ donor - she signed up to be an organ donor and has helped to promote the cause ever since. In 2010, following a national competition for organ donation awareness, Lori was named ‘The Most Enthusiastic Employee’ award for her ‘outside the box’ efforts to gain attention for the cause.
Interesting fact about you or what do you enjoy doing in your down time?
FAMILY is most important to me! I am a mother of 4 and my husband and I concentrate on making the most of our quality time together. A majority of that time for us, fortunately, is spent with those we have had the pleasure of meeting through LOPA. I am tickled that my 7-year old daughter knows more than most about organ donation. She thinks everyone should be a donor because in her words, "why wouldn’t you want to be?" FUN FACT: She volunteers "THE MOST" to speak at organ donation awareness events (she tells the stories of her ‘organ donor’ friends) and to play the part of our mascot – DEAUX NATE!
Describe your role at LOPA:
My job is to oversee organ recoveries throughout the state of Louisiana. One of my areas of focus includes maximizing a family's gift of donation through the utilization of the latest medical treatments of patients who have suffered severe brain injuries. I hope that their loved ones can save as many lives as possible. Another area of focus is to insure that the surgical processes and packaging of organs are performed with the utmost level of proficiency.
What do you enjoy most about your work or working for LOPA?
The thing that I enjoy the most is when a donor family gets the opportunity to meet their loved one's recipients for the first time. It is truly a life changing event for everyone involved. I also enjoy working with a staff that embodies our mission with an incredible passion throughout their day to day lives.
Interesting fact about you or what do you enjoy doing in your down time?
I spend most of my downtime exercising, playing golf or just hanging out with my wife, friends, or family. The longer I work for LOPA, the more of an appreciation that I have for those things.
Describe your role at LOPA:
My role with LOPA is dedicated to maintaining and extending quality follow-up services for all our donor families. Some of our supportive services include phone and written contact with families, grief counseling, emotional support, assisting with donor family and recipient requests for communication, facilitating direct contact, addressing issues or concerns, and interfacing with transplant centers and with other departments within LOPA. In addition, I see my purpose as one of being with families going through the labyrinth of emotional turmoil and helping them to see what good can result from a tragedy. Our department helps families focus on celebrating the life of their loved one and to see how one’s life can impact many others by saying YES to donation.
What do you enjoy most about your work or working for LOPA?
I enjoy listening to family members reminisce about their loved one and how and what he or she did on a daily basis in life. One of the more rewarding parts of my job, is to hear the joy and excitement from a family and recipient when having the opportunity to meet and embrace one another for the first time. I am reminded of the emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and spiritual benefits of one-on-one contact. A celebration of new found relationships.
Interesting fact about you or what do you enjoy doing in your down time?
Sally came to work with LOPA in 2000 to design and implement a family services program. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and holds Fellow status and Board Certification with the American Psychotherapy Association. She has been active in the mental health field for many years providing crisis intervention and counseling services to individuals and families affected by suicide, families of homicide victims, and adult bereavement and grief counseling.
My spare time is spent working in my yard and playing with my dogs and horses. I’ve always been an outdoor person and find great satisfaction being in nature. The peace and quiet allows me time to think and be grateful.