Authors Note: I originally wrote this piece when I was invited to be a contributor at “Medium,” an up and coming reading platform that is a place for sharing stories and ideas to make your days better with manifestos to change the world. If you haven’t spent any time with it, spend some time at www.medium.com and find an article based on your interest and available read time. The original article is published here.
How 60 Seconds Can Lead to a Legacy
My hand rested on my oldest daughter’s leg and my wife sat across from me. The words I was about to hear would be life changing in ways I couldn’t fathom. It was March of 2010.
Just hours before, my family of 5 was on the Spring Break vacation of a lifetime. On the slopes on the first day of our vacation, enjoying our time and making the best of it together. On the last run of the day, on the last slope of the day, I followed my son and my oldest daughter, Taylor, down the slopes. My wife and youngest daughter waited behind, tired from their day.
Storch Family on the slopes of Beaver Creek, March 2010. Taylor on far right.
My Flip video camera in hand, I filmed the beauty that only a father’s eyes can see… capturing 2 of my children as they embraced the white slopes with their skis. Just moments later, Taylor would slip and head off into the trees, sustaining injuries that would lead to a heart-wrenching question no father wants to face. A perfect vacation becomes a parent’s worst nightmare in a blink of an eye.
Only a few days earlier, we had packed our car and left from Dallas, TX to Beaver Creek, CO without a care in the world, and excited for the memories to be made. We enjoyed the long drive there but never considered the possibility that when we returned from Colorado, our family of five would now be four.
A Decision. A Blessing.
After hearing the question, I looked my wife of nearly 20 years in the eyes and we knew the answer without speaking. “Yes. Absolutely. It is what Taylor would want” is what I think I uttered. Our oldest daughter was brain dead. She was gone. But that’s not where her story ended. The decision we were making would forever change lives in beautiful ways, and not only ours, but many others, including those that would receive her organs. It could have been so simple, easier even, to say no or ignore the request, but that answer became a blessing to not only our lives, but the lives of five others.
Taylor would save and improve the lives of 5. Never did we realize the power of organ donation. We had never discussed it as a family. I don’t remember if I agreed to be an organ donor when I got my driver’s license.
I describe organ donation after losing a child as the ‘spider web of hope’ my family clung onto during our deepest grief. That spider web was sometimes the only thing I was able to hold onto to get me through the day, the hour, the minute.
When Taylor died, my DNA changed. I became something else. I was forever altered. The same, yet completely different. It became very apparent that we needed to help people understand that organ donation is a wonderful way to help others.
We started a foundation called Taylor’s Gift Foundation and began our work supporting all the official US organ donor registries. That work led to more understanding of the true needs of those touched by organ donation and brought us to our mission to “increase organ donation to Regift Life, Renew Health and Restore Families.”
All official US Registries at www.TaylorsGift.org
What You Can Do. Right Now.
I have a simple request.
Love those around you. Talk to your friends and family about organ donation. If interested, head to www.TaylorsGift.org and learn more. Take 60 seconds and register to become an organ donor at www.TaylorsGift.org/register.
Our foundation is currently providing scholarships to graduating seniors as well as financial support to those touched by organ donation through our Legacy Giftprogram. We are currently partnered with 2 organ procurement organizations in Texas and New York and have plans to expand across the US.
We have partnered with Nora’s Home to provide a place to stay for families that are having to travel to Houston, TX when a loved one needs a transplant surgery, a service we plan to expand.
Our goals are big.
The needs are huge.
Your opportunity is now.
Register to become an organ donor.
Do it now.
Discuss this with your family and friends.
Think of this as signing a life insurance policy that could potentially help save the lives of 8 people and help as many as 50 with no cost to you. Register to become an organ donor and potentially help others when you are gone.
Leave a legacy.
It can take as little as 60 seconds. Go. Now…