WICHITA, Kansas – A Wichita mother is stepping into the national spotlight, sharing the story of losing her son and the decision that saved eight other lives.
Scott Phillips was brutally murdered at the hands of strangers, but it’s something he did before the cold November night he lost his life that he is being remembered for today. He signed the back of his driver’s license.
Sally Phillips, a pediatric intensive care nurse at Wesley Medical Center, reads a letter sent to her by her son, Scott.
“’I refuse to spend my life regretting the things I failed to do,’” she reads. “’Let life happen, affect what you have the power to change.’”
Scott was just 29 years old when he was viciously attacked and killed in Arizona.
“It was just a random act of violence, he didn't know the people,” Sally says.
That was nine years ago on Thanksgiving weekend. Scott, a Kansas State University graduate, was beginning his career and on the verge of getting engaged.
“In a very real way he's still very much alive,” Sally says.
That’s because today eight people owe their lives to Scott, including a young woman who would have died without a heart transplant.
“It wasn't a hard decision that day for me to make and in effect because of his driver's license, he had already made that decision,” says Sally.
This year, Scott is being honored in the Rose Bowl Parade. His picture will be featured on a float dedicated to organ donation. The theme, “Seize the Day”, was the way Scott lived his life.
“He really believed in living each day to the fullest like it might be your last,” says Sally.
“Seize the Day” is more than just the name of the float; it’s also how Scott signed his letters, which his mother now reads for comfort.
“’I love you very much, maintain your own wind beneath you wings. Carpe Diem, Scott,’” she reads.
Sally, her children and grandchildren are headed to California where they will help put the finishing touches on the float honoring Scott. They’ll also be in the front row as it glides by on New Year’s Day.
Sally encourages everyone to talk to their families about organ donation. She says not to wait until you are in a heart-wrenching situation to make that decision.
More than 108,000 people in the U.S. are currently waiting for an organ transplant – 500 of them are in Kansas. Eighteen people die every day because of a lack of available organs.