Editors Note: Did you know that you’re probably already doing something to Outlive Yourself? Registering to be an organ donor is just one of the many ways to Outlive Yourself, but that’s just the beginning. Meet Austin, one of our 2014 Taylor’s Gift Scholarship Winners. Read about how he Outlives Himself through his journey with type one diabetes. Keep reading to learn more about how to apply for the 2015 Scholarship!
Written by Austin Fuerst, 2015 Scholarship Winner
I grew up going to middle school with Taylor Storch, and we even had a few classes together. The life that she brought to even the most boring of school science projects is hard to describe. But somehow, she made it look easy. The impact that Taylor had on my life growing up helped shape my view on life and, especially, how I wanted to live it.
Outlive Yourself: Find Blessing in the Trial
At the age of two, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes. When I was four, I wanted to learn how to give myself injections. Over time I learned how to give myself shots four to five times a day, check my blood sugar seven to eight times a day, count carbs of the food that I was eating, and eventually take care of myself. All of this just to stay alive. I thought that I was cursed! But as I grew older, I realized that my diabetes was, and is, a blessing. A blessing that I could use to Outlive Myself.
Not only does diabetes have a negative connotation, there’s also a general lack of awareness of the disease - especially when it comes to the differences between type one and type two. I am striving to change that. Growing up I attended Camp Sweeney for 12 years; it’s a summer camp for children that have type one diabetes, much like myself. Not only did I learn how to take care of myself in the crazy world that we live in and learn how to be myself, I also had the opportunity to be a Camp Sweeney Ambassador and share what I learned. Reaching out to newly diagnosed children and their families, I let them know that they weren’t alone in this seemingly awful ordeal. I talked to countless families and children and encouraged them with what I had learned: to not let this disease restrict them from anything they wish to do, but, instead, to let it be a motivator in everything they CAN do. Twice a month I even had the chance to travel to Children’s Hospital in Dallas to meet with kids that also had diabetes. I am thankful that Camp Sweeney taught me how to Outlive Myself, helping others see how diabetes can be a blessing.
Outlive Yourself: The Gift of Life
The Storch family is an amazing example of how to Outlive Yourself. The way that they took an awful accident, and used it to help others around the world is something that is beautiful, to say the least. I am so thankful for Taylor’s Gift, and the work they do to help save lives, especially because organ donation is very dear to my heart. In 2002 my Grandfather was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, an autoimmune liver disease that caused him to need a new liver in order to live. For the longest time we weren't sure what was going to happen, but we knew that the only thing that we could really do was put our faith in God (very similar to what Todd and Tara Storch express in their book). In March of 2003 a match was found for my Grandfather. The man he received the liver from was 80 years old, even though my grandfather was only 73 at the time. But the age difference didn't matter; it was a strong,healthy liver and it saved my Grandfather's life. I think it's so helpful what Taylor’s Gift is doing to increase awareness around organ donation - providing resources that remind people that they’re never too old to donate and how the process of organ donation works, and especially sharing stories that show how beautiful the gift of organ donation is.
Outlive Yourself: What Will You Do?
I believe that I need to be the best person I can be no matter what life throws at me. I believe that I need to show the love of Christ through my actions, and how I go about my everyday life. But most importantly, I believe in Outliving Yourself, because each one of us has the ability to leave a legacy that can change the world. So, how will YOU Outlive Yourself?
The Taylor’s Gift Scholarship
Are you a high school senior? Do YOU Outlive Yourself in your community? You might be interested in the 2015 Taylor’s Gift Scholarship, presented by Nike. Taylor’s Gift is looking to award five applicants that best fits the theme of “How I Have Made a Positive Impact in the Lives of Others and In My World“. Where other scholarships focus on athletics and academic achievements, the Taylor’s Gift Scholarship seeks to highlight those students that are truly making a positive impact in their world and by describing why organ donation is important.