Organ donation decision has global impact

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by GARY REAVES

WFAA

Posted on November 9, 2010 at 12:19 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 9 at 10:04 PM

COPPELL — The life and death of Taylor Storch has touched the hearts of thousands of people in North Texas and around the world.

The 13-year-old Coppell girl died in a Colorado skiing accident earlier this year, but a part of her lives on.

News 8 followed her family to Arizona to meet the woman who received Taylor's heart, and so much good has happened since then.

Shortly after Todd and Tara Storch chose to donate their daughter's organs, Todd quit his job and started a foundation to promote organ donation.

He had no idea that the simple act of inviting News 8 along when they went to Arizona for an emotional encounter with the woman who received their daughter's heart would have so much impact.

Two days after their story was broadcast on WFAA, ABC News made it a national story on World News with Diane Sawyer and on Good Morning America, where it left the anchors speechless.

One week later, the Storches were flown to New York for an appearance on the Today show.

Now, Taylor's Gift is an international phenomenon.

"We know the Web site was hit, right after the Today show, by 121 countries, which was wonderful," said Tara Storch.

On line, they've seen Taylor's story picked up by newspapers in London, a TV station in Spain, and a radio station in China.

"I cant read any of this," Todd said, looking at the Chinese Web site, "but it says, 'Taylor Storch 13.'"

And all over the world, people are signing up to become organ donors.

"There's already stories all over YouTube of people that are putting up messages," Todd said. "'Thank you for Taylor's Gift.' 'I recieved a heart. Don't know if you were behind it, but I know that you were helping.'"

The momentum keeps building. The Storches have hosted the first Taylor's Gift Golf Tournament. When we last visited, they were being interviewed on the phone by Kim Christensen, a Denver news anchor.

"I have to get myself together; you made me cry," Christensen said after hearing the Storches tell their daughter's story.

Relating that story repeatedly is sometimes trying, but Todd and Tara Storch say they've learned that when they share what they are going through, people act. That's why they are also making a documentary.

Todd uses Skype to meet online regularly with director Denise Lenz in Colorado, where she has already started editing the film.

"It's the first six months of their mourning process," Lenz explained. "They have been gracious enough to allow us to put a camera in their face."

What viewers will see is a family trying to heal in their own way. A view from the donor's side — all of its ups and its downs, as they slowly heal from their horrific loss.

"I could not imagine what our grief would be like right now if we did not have the opportunity of organ donation," Tara said. "I think it'd be a completely different level of grief."

"We've been wounded, and we're healing," Todd added. "The scar will always be there, but it is helping us heal.

"Taylor will always be gone, but she will be with us in a different way."

E-mail greaves@wfaa.com

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