Outlive Yourself : Stories & Updates

My Family's Miracle: When Organ Donation Became a Part of my Everyday Life

Posted by Guest Writer

27

Mar

2014

Written By Hannah Goralski, 2013 Taylor's Gift Scholarship Winner

Hannah_Goralski Taylor's Gift Foundation Scholarship Winner Registered Organ DonorHannah is a 2013 Scholarship recipient from Naperville, Illinois.  A freshman at Loyola University Chicago, she is pursuing a degree in Public Relations with a minor in Spanish and Sports Management in hopes of working in community relations for a Major League Baseball team. Hannah is the daughter of a kidney transplant recipient and the sister of the kidney donor. Organ donation is something she holds very dear to her heart.

Organ donation is an incredibly amazing process and an experience that would not have crossed my mind if my father was not put on the waiting list for a kidney three years ago. Now, every morning, as I put on my Donate Life bracelet and head out the door, I am reminded of organ donation and my family’s miracle from the priceless gift of life.

A Personal Connection

 
When my father received his kidney transplant from my brother, my whole family breathed a major sigh of relief. Being able to ignore the enormous waiting list for a kidney - especially given the fact that there are over 80,000 people currently waiting on one - the transplant was nothing short of a miracle. After the transplant I was looking forward to my whole family living a healthy life. I never expected to think that organ donation would be a part of my everyday life, but that experience changed everything.

Spreading the Message

Organ donation changes your life. I can’t avoid it and I wouldn’t want to even if I could. I love to tell people about my father’s transplant, and I take every chance I can to do so. I wrote a speech for my high school’s speech team persuading people to be organ donors. At each competition, I was standing in rooms full of complete strangers sharing my family’s story. That was something organ donation gave me the courage to do. I felt that the hope of witnessing organ donation first hand, combined with my family’s story, were too important to keep to myself. Letting organ donation change my life for the better was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Because it’s not about what has happened to you, but rather how you react to it that matters.

Hannah_Goralski Taylor's Gift Foundation Scholarship Winner Registered Organ Donor

Reacting

One way that my family found to react to the situation that God dealt to us was by participating in the Transplant Games of America. This not only gave my father a chance to compete in Olympic style events in the recipient category, but my brother also had the opportunity to compete with other living donors. Bonding with the other organ recipients and donor families was by far the best part of the whole Transplant Games experience.

All of these wonderful people have chosen to not let the events of their past and their sickness  hold them back or define them negatively. I had the incredible opportunity to meet so many magnificent people who overcame life’s difficulties just as the Storch family accepted and embraced Taylor’s death in such a loving and giving way. The Storch family is a constant reminder to me that an event does not have to define your life.

Looking Back and Moving Forward

I have now begun my freshman year at Loyola University Chicago, and I can’t help but look back and reflect on my summer. One of the first things I did over the summer was read the book, Taylor’s Gift. Before reading the book I knew that Taylor had lived an amazing life, but after reading the book I felt certain that God truly had a purpose through all of this. Reading Taylor’s Gift gave me a great insight into Taylor’s life and made me feel connected to her family. I have Taylor as a constant reminder to continue to outlive myself as I begin my journey at Loyola.

Taylors-Gift-Scholarship

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Learn About the 2014 Taylor's Gift Scholarship

This year Taylor's Gift Foundation will be awarding a total of four Taylor's GIft Scholarships, each in the amount of $1000; 2 of these are National scholarships open to Seniors in the US. Applications are now being accepted and Taylor's Gift invites 2014 high school seniors to apply for these college scholarships! Visit TaylorsGift.org/Scholarship for application information.

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Topics: My Stories, The 'Outlive Yourself' Spirit, Words from Scholarship Recipients

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