Organ Donors And Recipients Gather To Celebrate Gift of Life

Dec 18, 2018, 5:13 PM | Updated: Dec 19, 2018, 1:07 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Right now, more than 120,000 people in the United States are waiting for a life-saving gift: an organ transplant. Organ and tissue donors and recipients in Utah gathered today at Intermountain Donor Services to celebrate the gift of life in the season of giving. The transplants do much more than give a person a second chance at life.

Deedra Hansen Lambert is known as a Good Samaritan Living Kidney Donor.  Five years ago, she stepped up to donate a kidney to a stranger, whoever was next on the list. Lambert doesn’t even know who got it.

She didn’t make the decision overnight. She thought about it for a handful of years.

“I was born healthy,” said Lambert. “I didn’t have any chronic problems, and I felt like I had an obligation to help people, to help somebody less fortunate than myself who wasn’t as healthy as I was.”

She donated a kidney to a stranger because she knew it was desperately needed. But, helping that one person, she says, has a ripple effect. Helping one person get off dialysis helps that person go to work, so they can take care of their family, and a number of lives start to improve.

Brennan Christensen is an amateur calf roper in rodeos at the age of 29. When he was 11 years old, he nearly died in a bad fire.

“We were burning our garbage,” said Christensen, who grew up in Lehi. “It was kind of a regular chore that we did.”

He poured gasoline on the fire, and it flared up, burning.

“My hair was all singed,” he said. “My eyebrows were gone. My shirt was just barely hanging.”

More than half of the flesh on his body was severely burned. Doctors gave him a 5% chance of survival. Skin transplants saved his life. Time at camp with other burn survivors gave him a positive approach.

“What we say at the burn camp program is ‘survive and thrive.’ This is kind of my way of thriving,” said Christensen.

That transplant 18 years ago enabled him to become a husband and father, and excel in life.

“Without that, I wouldn’t be here today.”

In this season of holiday gift giving, few gifts rise to the level of saving a life. But, when you agree to organ donation, you’re essentially volunteering to share your organs, tissues or eyes with somebody else when you’re done with them. That could be the greatest life-saving gift that a person ever receives.

There were dozens of life-saving stories in the room at Intermountain Donor Services as recipients of organs, and tissue shared their thanks and thoughts on survival on ornaments placed on this Christmas tree. Honors from donors are stitched into this quilt that spans many years of successful organ transplants here in Utah.

A dozen years ago, Gerri Osman’s 16-year-old son, Sebastian, was hit by car not far from East High School.

“With it being my only child, it was my whole world,” she said.

He lay severely injured, unconscious in the hospital for days. One glimmer of brightness was the fact that Sebastian had told his mother only two weeks prior that he wanted to be an organ donor.

He had learned about the registry in drivers education.

“It’s not just giving somebody a second chance,” said Osman. “You are actually providing somebody the ability to have a future.”

She didn’t see that bigger picture until months after her son had donated a liver and two kidneys to help save three lives.

“It’s not just the recipient. There’s many individuals that are greatly impacted in a positive way through somebody being able to donate,” she said.

You can register online at YesUtah.org. Beliefs vary on organ donation. If you haven’t talked with your family about organ donation, why not do it now while you’re considering other gifts in this season of giving.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Cottonwood High lines up for a free kick following a fair catch against Jordan High. (KSL Sports)...
Andrew Adams

Coach, kicker & official reflect on Cottonwood High’s rare, game-winning play

Cottonwood defeated Jordan High after the Colts attempted and converted a free kick for three points with 12 seconds left following a fair catch on a punt.
2 months ago
Karah Brackin

Utah Veterans head to Washington D.C. for ‘trip of a lifetime’

75 veterans left Salt Lake City for Washington D.C. Tuesday morning.
2 months ago
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, introduces himself as a member of a n...
Ashley Imlay, KSL.com & Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Supreme Court declines to hear Utah gun rights activist’s appeal to overturn bump stock ban

A prominent Utah gun rights activist has lost his bid to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the federal bump stock ban.
2 months ago
Yvette Rodier, shooting survivor...
Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

LETTER PODCAST: Victim says bullet wounds were easiest part of recovery

When Yvette Rodier woke up in a hospital, she knew, even before anyone told her, that her friend, Zachary Snarr, was dead.
2 months ago
Housing construction....
Ladd Egan

Unaffordable Utah: Mortgage rates climb again as buyers look for price reductions

Utah's housing market is whiplashing as last year's buying frenzy seems to have slowed down to signs of a recession.
2 months ago
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: How cybercriminals use social engineering to get us to hand over our sensitive info

You can have the strongest, most secure password in the history of cybersecurity, but the bad guys know there is one weakness they can use to hack into your system - you!
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Organ Donors And Recipients Gather To Celebrate Gift of Life