Sunday, March 31, 2013

Taylor's Gift

“Taylor’s Gift: A Courageous Story of Giving Life and Renewing Hope” a book coming out tomorrow, April 1, chronicles the grief journey of Todd and Tara Storch and their 13-year-old daughter, Taylor, who died after a skiing accident in Colorado in 2010. More importantly, they speak of donating Taylor’s organs.

They found peace in discovering a purpose for Taylor’s death: saving others’ lives and to also tell the profound stories of the people affected by organ donation. So, in addition to the Storch story, those who received the organs and whose lives were saved are also featured. Taylor’s Gift Foundation was founded in 2010.

Both Todd and Tara tell their story of hope and healing, in addition to stories from a teenage girl with special needs to a young nurse and mother. The nurse received Taylor’s heart and Tara got to listen to it. Most importantly, they say there is an urgent need for organ donors. More than 100,000 people are waiting for transplants. Only 40 percent of adults over 18 are even enrolled in state donor registries.

One of the myths associated with organ donation is that some people are afraid that doctors won’t make an effort to save lives, but Tara says that doctors are under a Hippocratic oath saying they will do everything in their power to save a person. Another myth is the fact that a person might think he/she is too old. But older adults can also have very healthy organs.

As for healing, the couple talks about being surrounded by love, even in their darkest hours. “The best thing our friends did was to just be there,” said Tara. “There were no expectations; no judgment. They didn’t try to fix me.” The friends realized, as many of us do who have been there, that those of us who have lost our child are changed forever and there is no going back. We are different people, with different goals now that our child has died and others must learn to accept that. Tara was lucky that she had such thoughtful, considerate friends who never gave up on her, even on days when Tara herself wanted to give up.

When you decide to donate, a representative goes through a checklist of organs. This can be very hard for the family, but necessary. If you have a compassionate person, they understand this and will be gentle with your feelings. Families have the choice of which organs they want to donate or not donate.

Tara and Todd talk about all these aspects in their book, and I’m sure will put many people at ease to know this decision is entirely up to each family and what they feel is best for them. The Storch family wants to make a difference in the world and “organ donation is a beautiful way to outlive yourself.”

To be an organ donor, go to