I AM: From Tragedy to Triumph

Written by Courtney Quirk, a Dear Friend to Taylor and the Foundation

Courtney Quirk is a beloved friend of Taylor, the Storch family and Taylor’s Gift Foundation. Always eager to lend a helping hand, she has supported the Foundation in countless efforts. A current senior at Coppell High School, Courtney is wholeheartedly working to keep Taylor’s legacy and spirit strong in the community.

Taylor’ A foundation; a community; a family. It is an organization born from great adversity that blossomed into life changing hope for millions of families across the United States and all over the world. Not only has it helped give a second chance at life to those in need of an organ transplant, but it also is a testimony of peace and joy to donor families grieving a loved one.

I AM: Taylor’s Friend

Taylor and I became fast friends in kindergarten at an early age of 5 and our friendship continued to grow throughout elementary school and middle school. We had a strong friendship and our families spent a lot of time together. Like many other of Taylor’s friends, I felt a sense of light-hearted enjoyment from just being in her presence.

She was approachable, funny, and a joy to be around. At a garden dedication speech I made on her birthday in 2010, just a month after her passing, I asked friends and classmates to contribute adjectives they felt described Taylor. My favorite was “indescribable.” It was impossible to sum up her beautiful looks, bubbly personality, many talents, loving ways, and faithful nature into words because you don’t come across a girl like Taylor very often.

I AM: The Poem

Taylor wrote a poem for a school project a week before her accident. The assignment was to compose a piece of writing about who you are and about your dreams for the future. The poem Taylor produced was an expression of her personality and a foreshadowing that unfolded into much deeper meanings in the months and years following her passing.


I am outgoing and friendly.

I wonder how long is forever.

I hear support from my family whenever I need it.

I see myself helping people in every way I can.

I want to be on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

I am outgoing and friendly.

I pretend I can do anything I want to.

I feel touched by the generosity of my sister.

I touch people's lives.

I worry about failing.

I cry at the thought of losing a member of my family.

I am outgoing and friendly.

I understand how to make people feel happy.

I say with pride that I am Christian.

I dream about becoming a teacher.

I try to make every day like my last.

I hope to become successful in life.

I am outgoing and friendly.

-Taylor Paige Storch


I AM: Inspired by Taylor

“I am outgoing and friendly”. This was evident in Taylor’s everyday life. Never afraid to talk to strangers and carefree to what others thought of her, she used this to her advantage to make new friends and show Godly compassion to those she met. It was through these personality traits that she was able to “touch people’s lives” and “understand how to make people feel happy”.

Taylor accomplished this in her life on Earth. But her legacy continues to expand these statements through her foundation. With Taylor’s organ donations of her heart, kidneys, corneas, pancreas, and liver she has not only touched her recipients' lives, but with God’s grace He used her to touch the lives of millions more on the waiting list for organs.

An infant has a healthy shot at life with Taylor’s liver.

A man was set free from the bondage of dialysis because of one of Taylor’s kidneys.

Another man received freedom from blackouts and seizures from Taylor’s other kidney and pancreas.

A teenager has improved vision with Taylor’s corneas.

And a mother is able to watch her two young boys grow up with the help of Taylor’s heart.

All of the above are the unbelievable demonstration of Taylor’s dream: “I see myself helping people in every way I can”. Not only did she help her five recipients gain a new start in life, but she helped all future patients who would need an organ transplant at some point in their life.

Since the launch of the foundation in April 2010, just 3.5 years ago, the number of registered organ donors has gone up in the state of Texas by over 431%. That makes over 101.5 million donors nationwide. Taylor wrote: “I hope to be successful in life”, and I can’t imagine a better success than having a positive impact on the world through her story of generosity.

My favorite part of her poem is towards the end. “I say with pride I am a Christian” and “I try to make every day like my last”. Taylor recognized how easy it is to get wrapped up in the problems and stresses of today, and she strived to look beyond temporary troubles so that she could focus on what really mattered. Taylor had fun with the life she was given and knew how important it was not to take that life for granted. Her memories, story, and foundation has matured and provided comfort for me and so many others who called Taylor their friend. Through the grief, we have experienced a type of love, peace, and joy that can only come from the Lord and learned just how important it is to live every day like it is our last.



I AM: ________

What words describe you? How do you embrace the “Outlive Yourself” spirit? What do you want to see yourself doing? In a comment, take a moment to write a short poem of your own, share an “Outlive Yourself” story, or set an intention for your future.

Did you like this story? We think you might also enjoy the story of a family who journeyed through their 11 month son's heart transplant. 

Read A Son's Heart Transplant: A Family's Journey - Part One

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Gandhi




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