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Exceptional Aggies: Turning tragedy into service for others

Taylor's Gift is a non-profit organization that is not only for organ donors but those who give the ultimate gift of life.

TEXAS, USA — KAGS' series Exceptional Aggies puts a spotlight on current and former Texas A&M students who go above and beyond to achieve great things.

This spotlight is for Tara and Todd Storch and their organization, Taylor's Gift. This organization represents service to others in the highest form. Tara and Todd are '91 graduates of Texas A&M in College Station and their son graduated from the university in 2021.

In 2010, Tara and Todd Storch took their three children to Colorado for a family ski trip. It was a chance to spend time together but it ended in tragedy. Tara and Todd's daughter, Taylor, had an accident on the slopes and she died from her injuries.

Taylor was just 13 years old.

Tara and Todd now were faced with what seemed like an unreal decision to make.

"We had never talked about organ donation, not once in our family until we were faced with it," Tara said. "Taylor was such a friendly, others giving child, that we knew it was the right one for our family, and we said yes."

Yes.

A three-letter word that would go on to save and improve the lives of five people.

"It was a choice we could either cave up in the grief or we could find the good and we chose to find the good and focus on that and organ donation was the good that came out of a tragedy," Tara said.

Shortly after Taylor's passing, Tara and Todd created Taylor's Gift, a non-profit to spread awareness of organ donation not only in Texas but across the country.

"Organ donation is all about life, and the way we've done that has really kind of changed the conversation," Tara Storch said. "So we've come up with this key phrase called "Outlive yourself"."

But Taylor's Gift wanted to do more. They want people to know it isn't just about the lives that are saved by organ donation. The people and families who have to make the devastating decision need to have support, too.

"You know, you hear the stories of the recipient side and, and how beautiful their life is now, because of that second chance of life the organ donor gave them but, you know, that second chance of life would have never happened without a donor family saying yes, so it starts there," Tara said. 

The Kindred Hearts program at Taylor's Gift is providing free emotional support for donor families through support groups and individual services.

It's support that Tara said was something she didn't know she would need, but being able to talk with others who had gone through the same thing helped her stay on the path to healing.

"It's not what happens to you that matters," Tara said. "It's how you react to it that does."

Check out our other Exceptional Aggies on our YouTube playlist:

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