Organ & Tissue Donor
Aug. 14, 2008 – Feb. 4, 2009
Walter Williams is a family man. With five children, one grandchild and one soon-to-be stepdaughter with his fiancée, Catrina Sisneros, he provides for his family as a night shift supervisor for a heavy equipment company. Walter also knows the pain of losing a child. His son, Omar, passed away at just 6 months old from a respiratory illness in 2009.
Walter and Omar’s mother, Yolanda Arguello, chose to donate his organs in their grief, hoping they could save someone else’s life.
They did. Omar’s heart went to a 5-month-old boy named Leighton Harper in Bentonville, Arkansas. The heart started beating the moment it was settled in its new home, without any help – and it has been going strong for nine years.
Walter met Leighton and the Harper family in August 2017 at the 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville. He walked into the lobby to see Leighton already smiling at him, even though they’d never met before. Walter picked up the boy and cried.
“I knew everything was going to be alright,” Walter said. “We gained another family.”
Just as Omar brought joy to his family with his bright smile, Leighton brings joy to his friends and family. He spends a lot of time at his family’s dance studio, where he’s drawn everyone closer together. One dancer at the studio even choreographed a dance called “Omar’s Gift.” Walter and many others from both families got heart tattoos to honor Omar.
Today, Walter continues to live and give in even more ways. He volunteers for LifeGift, speaking about organ donation wherever he goes. And as an administrator for the global Corvette club Bad Boy Vettes, he enjoys attending car shows that benefit various causes, from Donate Life Texas to Toys for Tots and youth centers.
Even though this family man lost a son, organ donation allowed him to gain another family.
“It was a tough situation,” he said. “But knowing that another family was given the opportunity to spend more time with their loved one brings joy to me. And now that I met them and gained another family, I’m so blessed.”
Omar Williams, organ and tissue donor