There are many people around us who are doing just that; they are on a journey to outlive themselves. They are our friends, neighbors, family and coworkers who are always giving of themselves. They are leaving a lasting legacy without even realizing it because it’s just how they are.
Terri Maxwell, founder and CEO of Succeed On Purpose, has been selected as one of the 2017 Outlive Yourself Award Honorees. She is one of those incredible individuals who is on this journey to outlive herself. She lives her life with purpose in all she does and helps others do the same. It’s with a humble heart that Terri makes a difference in the lives around her. She truly embodies what the Outlive Yourself spirit means.
She has been selected, not because she is an extraordinary business woman and leader in her industry, but because of how she treats people. Her focus is on helping others find their purpose in life and along the way, she helps them live purposefully.
It was March of 2010, on our first day of Spring Break in Colorado when my husband, Todd and I were faced with something we never thought we’d ever face in our lifetime…our oldest daughter Taylor had been in a skiing accident and the doctors told us there was no hope of her surviving.
Sitting in shock in the hospital that day, we were asked a question that we’d never thought to prepare for, “Your daughter is a beautiful candidate for organ donation, would you consider it?”
I remember distinctly looking at my husband as he stood by Taylor’s bedside. Immediately we said yes. Taylor was such a giving child who always thought about others, and because of this we knew it was the decision she would have chosen for herself.
Like most families, we didn't sit around the dinner table talking about organ donation. In fact, I’m not sure if Todd and I had ever talked about it before that point. We had no interest in talking about our own mortality, much less the mortality of our children.
That would never happen to us... So we thought.
Looking back at that horrible day, Todd and I have said so many times that it was a privilege to have said yes to that question. Taylor saved and improved the lives of five people. But it wasn’t just the recipients that were affected, it was their families and friends who were also touched by Taylor’s gift of life.
To this day, the ripple effect still astounds us.
Todd’s grandfather told him while he was growing up; “It’s not what happens to you that matters, but how you react to it that does”. Now, don’t read this wrong, of course it mattered to us (and crushed our hearts) to lose our daughter; however, we had a choice. We could either cave up in the grief... or try to find the good. We knew our reaction was going to be important.
Taylor’s Gift Foundation was that reaction. It wasn’t by any means easy, but we made the decision to focus on the good that came out of our tragedy - focusing more on the purpose for us and less on the pain of our loss.
We founded Taylor’s Gift in April 2010 and soon after, we met Taylor’s heart recipient, Patricia. The story of us meeting Patricia originally aired on Good Morning America (watch the video), and has since shown up in hundreds of websites and media, bringing Taylor’s Gift Foundation to a global scale.
Our daughter made a lasting difference in many lives. Being an organ donor is a beautiful way to outlive yourself and Taylor outlived herself and left a beautiful legacy.
Taylor’s Gift Foundation will celebrate our 3rd Annual Outlive Yourself Awards on Thursday, September 28 at Union Station in Dallas. We are excited to announce that Terri is receiving the 2017 Outlive Yourself Award from Taylor’s Gift Foundation!
If you were unable to attend, but would like to make a contribution in her honor, you can do that online at this link.