In March of 2010, we were on our family Spring Break ski vacation in Beaver Creek, Colorado having a wonderful time together. It was on the final run of the day that our oldest child, Taylor, just 13 years old, had a fatal accident on the slopes and our world changed forever. I won’t ever forget those moments that followed of horror, fear, shock and confusion.
It went from the best vacation to the worst in a light switch moment, and our family was thrown into the unknown world of grief. When we were in the hospital, a kind nurse approached us and gently said: “she is a beautiful candidate for organ donation; would you consider it?” To be honest, we had never talked about organ donation in our family.
And now, we were faced with it – and the hardest part is that this nurse was talking about our child.
Our child. How could this be happening?
But, in all the hardest decisions we were making, saying ‘yes’ to Taylor being an organ donor was the easiest decision because of the child Taylor was. She was such a giving child and incredibly others-centered. I could fill up this newsletter with stories about the kind, caring and loving ways about her. Traits you can’t teach a child – it was just how she was made and wired by God.
With the gifts of life she gave, she was able to save and improve the lives of five people with the gift of her heart, both kidneys, liver, pancreas and cornea. We have been blessed to connect and meet four out of the five recipients, which has been an incredible blessing!
In 2010, we had to restart our lives emotionally and physically. All of a sudden, we were a family of four, not five. Simple things like going out to eat and asking for a table of four would send me into tears. Grief can be ugly and unpredictable.
My husband, Todd, shared with me a quote of his grandfather’s which was, “It’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you react to it that does.” That is a powerful quote. We realized our reaction to this loss was going to be very important, not only to our extended family and friends but most importantly, to our two other children. It would have been easy to cave up in the grief, and we did for a while, but we knew we had to find the good in our situation and organ donation was the good… the gift… the blessing… that came out of our tragedy.
One way Taylor’s legacy will shine bright will be in “Taylor’s Place,” a special space within the Southwest Transplant Alliance’s new organ recovery center to care for donor families.
It is our hope that Taylor’s Place will be a comforting space where grief and gratefulness come together. It will also be the place to honor all donor families as they find hope through organ and tissue donation.
We miss her daily, but are given constant reminders of her present love which carries us through.
Her favorite scripture was Luke 18:27, ‘what is impossible with man, is possible with God.’ That has held true for us all these years as we have leaned on Him for strength. He has made so many impossible moments possible.
For the past 10 years, we have tirelessly worked to share the importance of organ donation and encourage people to ”Outlive Yourself” through the gift of life. Our family will forever be advocates for organ donation and share about Taylor’s beautiful legacy!
We love you, Taylor and look forward to seeing you again. Mom, Dad, Ryan and Peyton
Submitted on behalf of: Tara Storch (Mother)