Storch’s memory lives on with Taylor’s Gift

by Divya Kumar
News Editor

On March 15, 13-year-old Coppell Middle School East eighth grader Taylor Storch passed away in a tragic skiing accident in Colorado while vacationing with her family. A kind, athletic and giving girl, Taylor’s warm spirit touched the lives of many. Even now, Taylor’s legacy is continuing to impact people, not just around the community, but across the nation.

In the hospital after the accident, a nurse approached the Storch family to ask about organ donation. According to Todd Storch, Taylor’s father, there was no question about it.

“When she asked us, my wife and I both looked at each other and immediately knew,” Storch said. “We’d never sat down as a family and discussed organ donation before, but just then it felt so right. We knew that Taylor would have wanted that.”

Taylor’s organs saved the lives of seven people. Beyond just this act, however, the legacy Taylor has left behind has turned into a bigger movement, founded by Taylor’s family and family friend, Jeremy Lipsey, called “Taylor’s Gift”.

Photo courtesy Todd Storch.

Origins for this foundation began at Taylor’s funeral, where her “If I Ruled the World” poem she wrote was read aloud by her uncle. One of the points listed is Taylor’s dream of one day appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”. Shortly following the fu­neral, Storch received a phone call from Lipsey, the father of one of Taylor’s classmates who had attend­ed, who proposed taking the idea further.

“Taylor’s story has inspired me to promote or­gan donation,” Lipsey said. “We don’t teach our young kids here the importance of it. The only time we hear about it is when we’re get­ting our drivers licenses and checking off the form about whether we’d be okay with it or not. This organization will really help to spread information about the cause to help it reach ev­eryone. We’re looking for­ward to involving Coppell as a community, and people even beyond that.”

Taylor’s Gift aims to share the memory of Taylor while spreading informa­tion about organ donation throughout the world by educating young people. The intended audience is purposefully set at such a young age because of per­sonal influences in Storch’s life.

“I love kids,” Storch said. “I love talking to them, and after Taylor passed away, I did a lot of that. I went to talk to the kids [at St. Ann Catholic Parish in Coppell] and then I talked to the kids at East, and I later heard from a lot of their parents that they had gone home and later talked to them about organ dona­tion. The fact that Taylor helped save seven lives was now becoming a source of conversation and opening up eyes in regards to organ donation and its impor­tance.”

Tay­lor’s Gift, found online at taylorsgift.org, is a work-in-progress which will hopefully be completed by April 19, Taylor’s birthday. Along with the creation of this orga­nization, a documentary is also set to be made by the Storch’s and Lipsey, though con­crete plans regarding this have not come about yet. The pro­motion of this organiza­tion though means of a Facebook group and Todd Storch’s Twitter, is all in an effort to get Taylor on the show.

“We have friends and know people who have said that they have connections with Ellen, and are trying to find ways to get us on the show,” Storch said. “It would be nice to talk about Taylor and honor her on the show, but mainly we’d want to promote organ donation and the positive impact it has.”

In addition to these groups, many personal ac­tions have been taken by close friends of Taylor in order to continue hon­oring her. T-shirts with Bible verses along with Livestrong bracelets with her name were created and brought over to the Storch household to be distribut­ed. All 300 brace­lets were gone in three days, and the cre­ation of new ones is upcoming.

Through the estab­lishment of the organi­zation and the efforts of Taylor’s friends and family members, word has spread about her and im­pacted not only the citi­zens of Cop­pell, but also people across the nation.

“I’ve got­ten Facebook messages and texts and Twitter comments about this,” Storch said. “People that I don’t know are mak­ing it a point to reach out to us and ask us how we feel and hon­or Taylor for the contribution she made with her organs. She re­ally has impact­ed a wide range of people who are now all in­spired to make a movement.”

Taylor’s legacy has also left a large im­pact on the stu­dents and fac­ulty of Coppell Middle School East, the school which she had attended for three years.

“It was amazing the impact [Taylor] made on our campus,” CMS East Principal Laura Springer said. “I don’t be­lieve you would find one person that would say anything negative about Taylor. What a legacy to leave behind. She made Coppell Middle School East a much better school and me a much better prin­cipal.”

As a tribute to Taylor and in her honor, a memo­rial will be built in the stu­dent garden of CMS East. A tree, deemed “Taylor’s Tree”, is set to be placed in the middle of the court­yard, with a plaque honor­ing Taylor.

In order to raise mon­ey to fund this memorial, a group of Taylor’s friends are creating blue T-shirts. Each shirt is $7and can be picked up from ProSportsGear in Lewisville starting April 16.

Springer, the Storch family and a former CMSE student, Jay Prator have worked together to en­hance the student garden – which was created by Tay­lor’s seventh grade last class year – in order to revamp it and place Taylor’s memo­rial within it. The garden and “Taylor’s Tree” will be dedicated on April 19.

“In death, Taylor just keeps on giving, and gave new life to seven other peo­ple,” Springer said. “I am so proud of Taylor and she will be an East Bronco for life. I am one lucky princi­pal to get to have students such as Taylor Storch in my school.”

In addition to the tree, preliminary ideas of creating a scholarship fund from the influx of money donated in honor of Tay­lor are coming into action. A scholarship for a former East student, planned to be presented at the Senior Awards Ceremony at CHS in Taylor’s name, may be created, since East was a large part of Taylor’s life and yet another way that she continues to give.

All these actions, taken to honor Taylor, will not only help her memory be forever engrained into Coppell history, but are also going towards making a difference around the na­tion.

 “It’s what Taylor would have wanted,” Storch said. “She was always a giv­ing person and wanted to help others, and that’s ex­actly what she continues to do.”