Health Care

Program launches to aid organ donor families

Written by Mindia Whittier

Dallas-based foundation addresses the absence of specialized grief support.

Beginning this month, organ donor families have access to a new resource thanks to a free nationwide grief support program.

Taylor’s Gift Foundation, a Dallas-based organization created to raise the visibility of organ donation, is launching the Kindred Hearts Program with a mission to help organ donor families receive the emotional support they need. The program will provide support groups and a dedicated Caring Guide to walk with organ donor families as they navigate through their grief journey.  

Taylor’s Gift was founded in 2010 by Tara and Todd Storch after their 13-year-old daughter Taylor died in a skiing accident in March 2010 and their decision to donate her organs saved the lives of five people. The agency provides emotional support to organ donor families.

In the case of organ donation, studies prove that donor families often experience a complicated grief and post-traumatic stress disorder. The Storches saw a need to have dedicated emotional support specifically for these families, because nationally there are very few grief support resources specifically dedicated to them. Additionally, grief support can be expensive – especially the right kind of help with people trained in complex grief therapy.

Through support groups led by trained volunteers, and through a partnership with Heritage CARES to provide trained Caring Guides, the Kindred Hearts Program will fill that void and provide grief support for the entire bereaved family, at no cost, for as long as they need.  A trained Caring Guide will be hand-selected and matched to an organ donor family. The Caring Guide also has life experience with grief – a shared experience that has tremendous benefits to the donor family.  

The Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine will partner with Taylor’s Gift to conduct a study of Kindred Hearts and the grief support the program will provide.  

About the author

Mindia Whittier