OGDEN -- Sebastian Osman was just 16 when he decided to give the gift of life. His decision ended up saving the life of an Ogden mother.
Sebastian, along with other organ donors, was honored Wednesday afternoon during a memorial service at McKay-Dee Hospital. The hospital, along with its foundation and Intermountain Donor Services, has placed a Wall of Heroes memorial on the second floor of the hospital to remember those who have made the life-saving decision to become organ, tissue and eye donors.
Wall of Heroes is a silent DVD presentation in the hallway next to the chapel where stories and photos of donors and recipients are shared.
Sebastian, of Salt Lake City, had listened to a presentation on organ donation during his driver's education course. When he got home, he told his mother he wanted to answer "Yes" on his driver's license as to whether he wanted to be an organ donor.
"The presentation really left an impression on him," said Sebastian's mother, Gerri Osman, speaking at the memorial. "He was very adamant about his choice and wanted to make sure I understood."
Shortly after that conversation in 2006, Sebastian was hit by a car and killed while crossing the street.
"When they came and asked me about donating his organs, I knew what his wishes were," Osman said. "Without knowing ahead of time what his choice was, I'm 99.9 percent sure I would have said 'no' and that's very painful for me to admit."
Because of his donation, Carol Holmes, of Ogden, is alive today. She received Sebastian's liver. She and Osman wanted to meet each other and are now dear friends.
"I am very grateful I am here," Holmes said. "Intermountain Donor Services and Sebastian are my heroes. I wouldn't be here today without them. I have tears of sorrow and tears of joy. Sebastian has given me a brighter tomorrow."
According to IDS, more than 114,000 people in the United States and 550 people in Utah are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. In addition, thousands of people require donated tissue each year to treat injuries and burns. One organ donation can save up to nine lives. Approximately 18 people die every day while waiting for a life-saving transplant.
"I am so grateful so much good could come from my son, who didn't think twice about thinking about someone besides himself," Osman said. "Meeting Carol and her family was an amazing experience for me. I never imagined the gift I would receive in return. Just to stand there and watch her with her family and to see how many lives would have changed if she weren't around was humbling, and all because one person decided to donate."