Tree of Life Ceremony Honors Donor Heroes

The ultimate gift anyone can receive for Christmas is an organ.

1 donor can save 8 lives through organ donation.

The family of a local donor hero, Michael Blake Johnson, tells us how his donation impacted the lives of others.


Cheyene Hickman is proud her brother Michael chose to donate his organs.

“My brother had an accident at work and ended up having brain injuries and all through his life, he’s been a giver and a lover and a friend and that was probably the best thing that could have happened that he was able to help with that.”


To honor his memory, she placed an ornament on the tree of life at the Rapides Medical Center.

“So, this year, doing it for my brother, it’s even more special, just to recognize, to hear the stories that everyone goes through and the love these donors have, that was given, what they did with their lives and what they do with their lives after.”


Cheyenne says her family supports Michael’s decision to donate.

“He’s always wanted to give, and he never felt he could give the way he should so that was probably the best gift that he could give to anyone to help. He’s actually, I believe he was able to donate a kidney.”


Cheyene says LOPA Family Advocate Larabee Thompson has helped her family through the donation process.

“They can remember their loved one as a hero and they know the love that they have for their loved one, continues to exist out in the world through these gifts.”


Families of donor heroes each put an ornament on the tree to remember their loved ones.

“I could only imagine if I had a family member who needed it to know someone was just willing to just to donate, no matter what it costs, whatever it was, at the end of the day to give, it’s a magical thing. It’s very, very important.”

Cheyene says they will continue the tradition with his son.


According to the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, there are about 2000 Louisianans waiting for a life-saving transplant.