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Organ donation changes lives

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
Aug. 29, 2012 at 10 p.m.

Kelly Barnes got to meet the family of the man who saved his life Wednesday.

Barnes was the recipient of a kidney and pancreas from Ty Osman, who died in March, following a car wreck. He met Osman's family at the dedication of the Wall of Heroes at Good Shepherd Medical Center, which honors organ and tissue donors.

Barnes, 36, was diagnosed with diabetes as a child. By 2011 the disease had progressed to the point where his kidneys had failed and he was on dialysis. The transplant changed all of that.

"I no longer need insulin or dialysis," Barnes said. "Because of the organs I received from Osman, I can look forward to a long, healthy life."

Ty Osman's mother, Nancy Osman, said she was glad for the opportunity to meet one of the recipients of her son's organs. His other kidney, liver, lungs and heart were also donated.

"It's a blessing," Nancy Osman said. "I'm glad to see that Ty is still making a positive difference in the lives of others, even after his death."

The Osman family lives in Tennessee, and her son was a college student in Arkansas on his way to a spring break visit to the Dallas-Fort Worth area when he was involved in a wreck in East Texas. Nancy Osman was accompanied by her husband, also named Ty, and their two daughters.

"The only thing I really know of Longview is Good Shepherd, but the people here have been fantastic," Nancy Osman said.

Barnes, a farmer from DeKalb, was accompanied to the event by his wife and two children.

"I feel honored to meet the family of the man who did so much for me," Barnes said.

The Wall of Heroes, on the fifth floor of Good Shepherd Medical Center, highlights 21 people who specified that their organs or tissue be used to benefit others after their own deaths.

Karen Watts, chief nursing officer for Good Shepherd, spoke at the dedication ceremony in the lobby, which also included music and prayers.

"We like to highlight our donors and tell their stories," Watts said. "This is an opportunity for us to do that for a wider audience."

Watts said the medical staff at Good Shepherd doesn't usually get to meet the people who are recipients of the donors of patients who die there, since the medical center doesn't perform transplants.

"This is really a wonderful opportunity for us to see the good that comes out of tragic circumstances," Watts said.



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