One of the hardest things in life is when someone else’s ends too early. Saying goodbye is never easy, but when a tragedy comes that was unforeseen, that only adds to what is already a terrible situation. Todd and Tara Storch found out just how difficult sudden loss can be when their teenaged daughter Taylor died during a family vacation. She was only thirteen, and should have had many decades of life ahead of her, but her first day on the ski slopes of Colorado proved to be her last. Her father and brother watched in horror as she lost control and slammed into a tree, which was the last thing she ever did on earth.
There were two things she did before that accident that helped to bring some hope to the family. First, she became a follower of Jesus, so her family took comfort in knowing their little girl was in heaven. And second, she lived her life in such a way that her parents knew organ donation was something she would have wanted. Taylor always put others ahead of herself, so when her parents were asked if they would be willing to donate Taylor’s organs, they initially balked, but then decided it is what she would have done if given the chance.
In their book Taylor’s Gift, Todd and Tara recount how, over time, they were able to meet each of the recipients of their daughters organs. This is such a rare privilege because many families choose not to meet the donor’s family. There was Jeff, the rancher in Colorado who received one of Taylor’s kidneys and her pancreas; there was Patricia, the nurse in Arizona who received Taylor’s heart; there was Jonathan, a biker in Colorado who received another kidney and her liver; and then there was Ashley, a teenager in South Dakota who received Taylor’s eyes in a corneal transplant. Her parents got to look into the beautiful blue eyes of their daughter again when they met Ashley, and they took comfort in meeting Jeff and Jonathan, but when Tara got to use a stethoscope to hear her daughter’s heart beat inside of Patricia, they really believed their daughter lived on.
They started a ministry called Taylor’s Gift (taylorsgift.org) to help with donation research and to promote awareness of organ donation. Since February 14th is donation awareness day, I wanted to take a quick minute to share their story and encourage readers to consider becoming a donor if your health allows. But besides that, I wanted to take a minute to give praise to Jesus, whose death makes life available to all who accept the gift. Imagine someone on the transplant list turning down a perfect match. That would be crazy! It is just as crazy to refuse the free gift of salvation that Jesus made available when He died on the cross. He’s a perfect match, and He offers new life to all who put their trust in Him.
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, and behold, the new has come.”
II Corinthians 5:17