Utah woman owes her life to teen who felt strongly about organ donation

SALT LAKE CITY --- Carol Holmes is alive today thanks to a teen and his mother, who is now passionate about organ donation.

“For years I didn’t feel very good and nobody could really figure out why,” Holmes said. “I just was extremely tired and I just didn’t feel right.”

Carol’s doctor said she'd need a new liver, but not for several years. But then just a couple of years later, a blood test revealed her health was deteriorating.

“I went to a New Year’s Eve party and my friend took a picture with me because she didn't think I was going to make it,” Holmes said. “By then I was gray and green and very yellow, and I weighed less than 100 pounds with a 20-pound liver.”

In 2006 Holmes had a liver transplant, and two years after surgery she got the chance to thank her donor's family.

Gerri Osman's 16-year-old son Sebastian was hit and killed in a crosswalk. It was his liver that saved Holmes’ life.

Before the accident he learned about organ donation at school and was in favor of becoming an organ donor. Geri said if he hadn't been clear about his feelings, she may not have approved of him being a donor.

"Sebastian was always kind of like, 'Why wouldn't you recycle your organs?'" she said. "'Why wouldn't you give them to somebody?"

Now Geri works for Intermountain Donor Services, teaching Utahns about organ donation.

“For me when I lost him, I wasn't sure what I was gonna do," she said. "I wasn't sure how life was going to go on. He was my only child: That was a tremendous loss for me. And to be able to gain this whole extended family through Carol, has given my life purpose. The main goal of what I do is just helping people understand how this works, the benefits of it, and being able to make an informed decision."

To be an organ donor all you need to do is say yes on your driver’s license or state ID card. Or you can sign up online at YesUtah.org

It’s also a good idea to let your family know of your decision so your wishes can be carried out.