Close to my Heart: Organ Donation & 'Outlive Yourself'

Written By Kaitlyn McClew, 2013 Taylor’s Gift Scholarship Winner

Taylor's Gift Foundation Scholarship Winner Registered Organ Donor Kaitlyn McClew

Kaitlyn is a 2013 Taylor's Gift Scholarship winner from Coppell, Texas. She is a freshman at Texas A&M University pursuing and degree in International Studies and a minor in French, in hopes to work with a Non-Profit in West Africa.

As a child, I was born into the .01% of American children with a heart defect and misplaced valves. Venosus Atrial Septal Defect means that I had un-oxygenated blood circulating throughout my body. My heart had swollen to a dangerous size with the task of keeping me alive. By a miracle, it was discovered in a routine check-up.

It Felt Like a Second Chance

I had open-heart surgery as an eleven year old. Thankfully, I was not in need of an entirely new heart, but if my condition had gone unnoticed, it was a strong possibility. I felt as though I had been granted a second chance at life - exactly what Taylor’s Gift Foundation does. 

I think Outlive Yourself is a perfect fit for Taylor’s Gift. It encompasses all the gifts of organ donation, both for the one giving-who is able to help someone they leave behind, and the recipient-who has the opportunity to live on, carrying the legacy of their benefactor along with them.

How I Can Respond

I was prompted to “Outlive Myself” exclusively by the Storch family. I knew very little about organ donation before I heard their story. The love shown by Taylor’s family and the genuine grace created by the process, made it clear how important donation is. Organ donation is not only a generous choice, but also a wonderful way for a family to rejoice in a loved one’s life.

Registered Organ Donor Kaitlyn McClew Mission Trip Taylor's Gift Scholarship Winner

Taylor’s Gift has shown me the power one life has. The Storch family has taken their tragedy and nursed it into national joy over their daughter. I am now a huge advocate for organ donation and have a habit of telling anyone who will listen about the beautiful generosity it shows. Receiving the Taylor’s Gift Scholarship has encouraged me to continue to 'Outlive Myself' on a daily basis.

I Registered!

I am now an organ donor and am certified in CPR. As one who could have been on the receiving side of Taylor’s Gift, this charity and organ donation as a whole will always hold great value in my life.  



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! Visit for application information.

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

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