LOPA holds virtual Donor Remembrance Day to honor donors who have saved lives
Each year, the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, or LOPA, dedicates the month of April as "Donate Life" month, reminding people of the importance of donating life.
“We all come together to celebrate all of the donors from the previous years and to validate everyone’s decision to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor,” said Kirstin Heintz, LOPA public relations manager. “We also like to celebrate the transplant recipients that have been able to continue on with their lives because they got a second chance from a donor saying ‘yes.’”
The agency dedicates one day in particular to honoring the selflessness and generosity of past donors.
“Donor Remembrance Day is going to be April 30, and it’s really special to LOPA because one of our family advocates came up with the idea,” Heintz said.
A virtual ceremony will allow for family and friends of donors and anyone else to attend.
“We are going to have a very small group of our leadership team at our LOPA headquarters in Covington at 1:08 p.m. on April 30, and that’s significant because one organ donor can save eight lives. We are going to raise our ‘Donate Life’ flag and read the names of all the Louisiana donors that were submitted,” Heintz said.
Just as COVID-19 has not stopped LOPA from honoring donors, the procurement process also has to continue, but with extra precautions, including testing donors.
“We found a location in Kansas City that was able to turn around the COVID testing in 12-18 hours, so that was an adjustment for us,” said LOPA chief clinical officer Joey Boudreaux.
One of the adjustments the agency is having to make is comforting families during grief.
“Families weren’t able to go and visit with their loves ones because most of the hospitals didn’t allow visitation or limited visitation significantly,” said Boudreaux. “So, we had to think of different ways to still be able to support families.”
Because much is still unknown about the virus, donors who test positive are unable to donate, and the agency has felt the effects of the virus in a decreasing number of donations.
“When we saw the hospital become overrun, we saw a significant decline in donation initially,” said Boudreaux.
So this month, LOPA encourages people now more than ever to use their lives to save lives and honor those who already have.
The ceremony will be livestreamed on Facebook.
You can sign up to have your loved one’s name added to the donors list that will be read on April 30 at the link below.
Heintz also says you don’t have to wait to go to the DMV to become an organ donor. You can sign up at
, or on the "Health" app on your iPhone.