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LOPA honors donors and survivors

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BATON ROUGE - Families of people who have donated organs to others mingled with families of recipients at a special ceremony at Our Lady of the Lake Thursday.

"It's a tremendous amount of joy to be able to share this with the families," recipient Doug Cossman said.

Cossman received a kidney from Shelby Holmes, a well-known sports fan who was a staple of the Old South Baton Rouge area until he was murdered in October 2013. Holmes' death investigation has gone cold and the killer is still on the loose.

"It's not because the police, the district attorney's office, the powers the be haven't tried," Cossman said. "Somebody in the neighborhood knows something. The fact that the person who committed this crime is still out there is a travesty because somebody knows."

Cossman understands his life is saved due to tragedy, and is spreading the word about organ donations.

"I want them all to know that it was the right decision," he said of messages he gives to families who make a choice to harvest organs of loved ones.

Families, like the Colgnes. Their son was killed by a car and his organs saved the lives of others.

"We actually had a conversation about a year before he died, that if anything ever happened...he wanted to be an organ donor," Jennifer Colgne said of her son.

Cossman appreciates what others have done for him, and many more survivors.

"My life is normal now because of the transplant, the gift of life from Shelby and his family," he added.

The ceremony ended when attendees released butterflies into the air.

Click HERE to learn more about the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, LOPA.
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