Taylor’s Gift Foundation: Premier Grief Support Organization for Families of Organ Donors

by Sara Aguinaga on June 10, 2024 in Lifestyle, Wellness,

Taylor’s Gift Foundation, founded by Todd and Tara Storch, provides grief support for families of organ donors, ensuring they never have to navigate the grieving process alone. Through personalized care, the foundation offers support and understanding to donor families, fostering hope and healing in their darkest moments.

In March of 2010, Tara and Todd Storch of Coppell, Texas, took their three children, Ryan, Peyton and Taylor, to Beaver Creek, Colorado, for a ski vacation. Their oldest daughter, 13-year-old Taylor, was an extraordinary young girl known for her warmth and generosity.

“Taylor was everybody’s friend,” says Tara. “She made everybody feel like they were her best friend. She just had that connection with people. She had such a giving heart.”

The Storch family on a ski vacation. Photo courtesy Taylor’s Gift Foundation.

On the first day of their ski trip, Todd, Taylor and Ryan decided to do one last run on the slopes before they packed up for the day. Tara and her youngest daughter Peyton were purchasing hot chocolate at the bottom of the mountain.

Described as a freak accident, Taylor struck a tree on that last run. She had to be careflighted while Todd and Tara made a heart-wrenching 2.5-hour drive to the hospital. Upon entering the hospital, they received devastating news – their beloved daughter was not going to survive.

Choosing Organ Donation

Amidst the shock and blur of subsequent moments, a nurse kindly approached Todd and Tara and shared that Taylor would be a beautiful candidate for organ donation. Tara describes that out of all the hard decisions they had to make at the time, donating Taylor’s organs was the easiest one they made.

“We knew in our hearts of hearts if Taylor had been asked, ‘In your final moments on this earth, would you like to save others?’ We knew she would have said yes,” says Tara. 

The Impact of Taylor’s Gift

Taylor Storch, whose legacy of generosity inspired the founding of Taylor’s Gift Foundation. Courtesy photo.

The donation of Taylor’s organs saved and improved the lives of five people. Her cornea gave sight. A kidney and pancreas went to a man who is now a grandfather and has a new lease on life. Another kidney went to a young man who completed a 500-mile bike race across Iowa 18 months after receiving Taylor’s kidney. Her heart went to a mother in Arizona. Her liver went to a three-year-old boy in Oklahoma, who is now 16 and doing very well. Tara and her family have made strong connections with some of these recipients.

Founding Taylor’s Gift Foundation

Tara felt immense hope and gratitude that her daughter could help others in the face of tragedy. However, her intense grief became overwhelming. 

“When we returned from Colorado, we were desperate to find others who have walked this journey. The grief of a donor family is different – you’re grieving a sudden loss, combined with a silver lining that your loved one saved others. It’s where grief and gratitude share the same space. We couldn’t find support for that.”

The lack of available support added to the anguish. Tara knew the immense pain firsthand of losing a loved one and didn’t want other families of organ donors to endure their profound loss with no guidance.

Upon returning home from Colorado, the Storch family faced their new normal without Taylor. Tara and Todd knew they could cave into the grief or find the good. For them, the good was the lives saved because of Taylor. 

Todd reflected on a quote his grandfather shared with him as a child, which he didn’t understand until after Taylor’s passing: 

“It’s not what happens to you that matters; it’s how you react to it that does.”

Motivated by their personal experience and a desire to turn their grief into something positive, Tara and Todd decided to take action. Their purpose was to share the importance of organ donation, why it matters, and how to register. Tara and Todd were determined to honor their daughter’s legacy and support other families facing similar challenges.

Six months after their tragic loss, Tara and Todd established Taylor’s Gift Foundation.

Taylor’s Gift Foundation Mission

Taylor’s Gift Foundation is steadfast in supporting organ and tissue donor families as they navigate the challenging grief journey. With a clear mission to ensure that no donor family ever grieves alone, the foundation provides comprehensive assistance at every step of the process.

Grief Support Services

Families can expect to hear from licensed or certified grief professionals upon reaching out for support. This initial connection is a valuable opportunity to explore the available grief support services and how they can be tailored to meet individual needs.

Following this conversation, families are paired with dedicated Caring Guides, compassionate individuals who have personally experienced loss and completed specialized grief support training. These guides offer invaluable peer-to-peer support, understanding and companionship throughout the grieving process. Accessible at no cost to each family member, this support ensures everyone who needs assistance can receive it.

Some testimonials from participants:

“My Caring Guide helped me understand that I am normal. My Caring Guide helped save my marriage.” 

“I can tell my Caring Guide my thoughts and don’t have to worry about her reaction to them. She understands.”

Furthermore, virtual support groups, led by empathetic facilitators, offer connection and solidarity opportunities to individuals facing similar experiences, enhancing the support network for donor families. Participants have expressed their appreciation, with one stating,  “Taylor’s Gift allowed me to be with people who understood my loss,” while another highlighted the convenience, saying, “I love that TGF services are available to me from my own home.”

Promoting Organ Donation

Before Taylor’s passing, Tara did not know much about organ donation. The only time she ever thought about it was when she had to check the box about organ donation when she renewed her driver’s license. The topic never came up in conversations with her family.

Organ donation isn’t a pleasant conversation with loved ones, but it’s crucial. According to Donate Life Texas, one person’s organs can save eight lives, while tissue can help up to 75 people.

Increasing Awareness

When Taylor’s Gift Foundation started in 2010, only 2% of Texans were registered organ donors. According to Tara, this low number was a catalyst for action. “It was insane to us. We have this massive state, and only 2% of its residents are organ donors. That made no sense to us.

“We knew it wasn’t an easy topic. When people think of organ donation, they think of death,” says Tara. “But it’s all about life. That’s what organ and tissue donation is. It’s all about life. We wanted to change that conversation, so we coined the phrase Outlive Yourself. How do you want to outlive yourself and leave a lasting difference in the lives of others?”

As of 2023, Texas has 15 million registered donors, representing roughly 60% of the state. This significant increase can be attributed to the tireless work of many groups and organizations, including Taylor’s Gift Foundation, Donate Life Texas, Organ Procurement Organizations and the Department of Public Safety who are all focused on spreading awareness and educating the public about organ donation. In 2023 alone, Texas-based organ procurement centers and transplant centers conducted 4,227 life-saving transplants.

The Need for  More Donors

The foundation’s mission was driven by a need for more awareness surrounding organ and tissue donation, fueled by the prevalence of misinformation and myths.

One misconception stood out: the belief that doctors might prioritize organ donation over saving the life of a patient with life-threatening injuries. Tara succinctly debunks this myth, emphasizing that doctors’ primary oath is to save the life of the patient, not to prioritize organ donation to save the lives of others.

The Reality of Organ Donation

Many people wonder why there are still over 10,000 individuals waiting for transplants when Texas alone boasts over 15 million registered organ donors. The key issue lies in the stringent conditions required for organ donation from deceased donors.

For a person to be eligible to donate organs upon death, they must be declared legally brain dead, a condition that occurs in only about 1% of all deaths across the country, which means that despite a large number of registered donors, the actual availability of organs for transplant is limited by the infrequency of brain death scenarios.

To put it simply, even though many people are willing to donate, the opportunity for organ recovery at the time of death is rare. The extreme rarity is why there is a growing emphasis on living donations, especially for kidneys, which are the most in-demand organs, comprising 86% of all transplant needs.

Unlike other organs, kidneys and parts of the liver can be donated by living donors, significantly reducing the waiting list and saving more lives. Living donation provides a vital alternative and is a critical component in addressing the ongoing shortage of available organs for transplant. 

How to Get Involved With Taylor’s Gift Foundation

Consider donating to help continue providing free grief support to families and friends touched by organ donation. If you want to make a difference via social media, you can create a Facebook fundraiser.

Furthermore, you can have Tara Storch host an event, whether a television appearance, podcast interview, or group event. Organizations looking to support Taylor’s Gift Foundation can also make contributions.

Additionally, you can support Taylor’s Gift Foundation by getting Tara and Todd’s award-winning book, Taylor’s Gift: A Courageous Story of Giving Life and Receiving Hope, or purchasing the custom Outlive Yourself Nike socks, all available in the shop.

The Future of Taylor’s Gift Foundation

Tara Storch, co-founder of Taylor’s Gift Foundation. Courtesy photo.

Save the date for November 21 for Singo Bingo in Addison, Texas. This engaging fundraising event promises fun and nostalgia with Bingo and tunes from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Following its success in 2023, the event returns this year due to popular demand.

On a more serious note, Taylor’s Gift Foundation has expanded its reach, assisting families in 38 states — a testament to its growing impact and influence. The foundation’s profound work resonates deeply with families, as evidenced by the increasing number of referrals.

A Vision for the Future

Looking toward the future, Tara articulates a profound aspiration for the foundation — to become the nation’s premier source of grief support for donor families. This vision underscores the commitment to ensure that no family faces the grieving process alone. With unwavering support from compassionate individuals and communities, Taylor’s Gift Foundation remains dedicated in its mission to offer solace and companionship to those in need.

Register as a Donor

To register as an organ, tissue and eye donor, visit the National Donate Life Registry

Connect on Social Media

Stay updated with the latest news and events from Taylor’s Gift Foundation by following them on social media:


Cover photo courtesy Dim Hou on Unsplash

Sara Aguinaga’s passions include reading, creating art, and traveling. She enjoys exploring the culinary diversity across the expansive Lone Star State. As a licensed massage therapist, she strives to bring peace to the lives of others.