Episode 78
Miss Indiana USA® Advocates for Donate Life

Release Date: 3/16/2018

Show Notes: March is National Kidney Month! On this episode of The Gifted Life Podcast, we welcome Darrian Arch, Miss Indiana USA®, who’s personal connection drove her to become an advocate for Donate Life with Indiana Donor Network. Learn all about this accomplished beauty queen and why her quest to educate others about organ, eye and tissue donation is very close to her heart. Our very own Sally Gentry, a licensed counselor, talks us through common mental health issues, this time focusing in on control tendencies. We honor Indiana Donor Network hero Logan Vanderkleed and answer a listener’s question right here on episode 78 of The Gifted Life Podcast.

Episode 77
National Kidney Month

Release Date: 3/02/2018

Show Notes: March is National Kidney Month. On episode 77 of The Gifted Life Podcast, we take an in depth look at how the kidney allocation system (KAS) has affected those in need of a life saving kidney transplant. We welcome UNOS researcher, Darren Stewart, who gives us insight into how new policies enacted in late 2014  have changed the outlook for those waiting for a kidney. Then we honor hero Kenneth Doucet and answer a listener’s question. For more information on this topic, visit: https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov.


Episode 76
Living Organ Donor Christopher Babin

Release Date: 2/16/2018

Show Notes: On episode 76, we meet Christopher Babin, who selflessly chose to become a living kidney donor. Chris shares his story with us about giving the gift of life and why he’s running to tell others about organ, eye and tissue donation. Then, Randy Falgoust is honored during our hero segment. You will also find out how to reach out, just like Chris, to tell us your story or ask a question. The Gifted Life Podcast is your source for inspiring and informative stories about organ, eye & tissue donation and transplantation.


Episode 75
The Donate Life Rose Parade Float

Release Date: 2/02/2018

Show Notes: On episode 75 of The Gifted Life Podcast, our team takes you to the 2018 Rose Parade in California to experience the Donate Life Rose Parade Float. Check out what goes on behind the scenes and hear some of the experiences from the families of the honorees. Learn why American Idol alum, Scott MacIntyre, and former NFL coach Sam Wyche were involved in this year’s celebration. You can learn more about the individual stories of the 44 organ, eye and tissue donors honored on this year’s float, “The Gift of Time,” at donatelifefloat.org.


Episode 74
Bravo's Below Deck Star Nico Scholly & The Tristen Scott Foundation

Release Date: 1/19/2018

Show Notes: On this episode of The Gifted Life Podcast, we welcome a reality star, Bravo’s Below Deck cast member, Nico Scholly. Nico’s younger brother Tristen lost his life tragically in an accident in 2016 and became a hero, giving the gift of life to others. Learn how Nico’s family is using their experience to help other donor families by creating the Tristen Scott Foundation and how it fuels Nico’s passion for organ, eye and tissue donation advocacy. Plus, learn more about Tristen during our Honoring a Hero segment. We also answer a question that came through our Facebook page about finding a donor’s recipient. 

Tristen Scott Foundation on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TristenScottFoundation


Episode 73
Musician David St. Romain Promotes Donation

Release Date: 1/05/2018

Show Notes: The Gifted Life Podcast team extends best wishes for 2018 to all our listeners. In this shorter episode, we kick off 2018 with a powerful voice. Our host Lori introduces us to singer and songwriter, David St. Romain. Learn about the inspiration behind one of his songs; a song that has touched lives and promoted becoming a registered organ, eye and tissue donor. We then honor hero Loyd Knotts and answer a question from someone who would like to contact their anonymous living donor on episode 73 of The Gifted Life Podcast.

David St. Romain website - http://www.davidstromain.com
Vidalia on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/vidaliamusic
Vidalia website - https://www.vidaliamusic.com

114,997 people are currently waiting for a life saving transplant.

Our goal is to raise awareness about the need for the life saving gifts of organ, tissue & eye donation. Help the Gifted Life Podcast share the latest information about donation and transplantation, share this podcast with your family and friends. Share your inspiring stories with us info@lopa.org or give us a call at (504) 648-3477. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

Production Team: Kirsten Heintz, Chillon Caraway, and Troy Perez.

Meet the Hosts


  Lori Steele Community Educator

Lori Steele
Community Educator

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's background:

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!


  Joey Boudreaux, RN, BSN, CPTC Chief Clinical Officer

Joey Boudreaux, RN, BSN,
Chief Clinical Officer

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.


 Sally Gentry, LPC-s, FAPA, BCPC Family Services Coordinator

Sally Gentry, LPC-s, FAPA, BCPC
Family Services Coordinator

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.

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