Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Taylor, One of Many Honored in Donate Life Celebration

A message from Jennifer, Taylor's mom:

Just months before Taylor passed away, she was looking at my driver’s license and asked me what the heart up in the corner of my photo meant. I showed her the back of the card and explained to her that the heart alerted others to the fact that I had registered with the DMV as an organ and tissue donor. Of course, this led to more questions about what organ donation was and how you signed up to do it. I told Taylor that when you die, you no longer have any use for any of your organs. Your body is laid to rest and simply perishes and returns to dust…back from whence it came. She thought the idea of anyone having to THINK about donating their bodies was silly. Her exact words were “I’m not gonna need any of it in Heaven so why wouldn’t I give it to someone else here on earth that can still live?”. My sentiments EXACTLY, Taylor!

Taylor’s father and I did not hesitate when it came time to answer the question “would you be willing to donate any of your daughter’s organs”. In fact, I think the moment they told us that Taylor wasn’t going to make it, we both looked at each other and asked the doctors if we could donate her organs even before they asked. I knew about a week before the doctors told me, that Taylor wasn’t going to make it. I still spoke of hope to others…but in my heart, as her mother, I knew she wasn’t coming back home with me. My conversation earlier that year with Taylor regarding this subject made it a very simple decision for her father and I to make.

We received an invitation in the mail about a month ago to attend the “Thanks for Giving” ceremony in Nashville. The weekend before last, members of Taylor's family and friends of the family came together with other families whose loved ones were honored as organ or tissue donors, at an event sponsored by Tennessee Donor Services (http://donatelifetn.org/ ). Many donor recipients were also there to talk about how thankful they were that their lives were either improved or saved by others' selflessness.

Taylor was one of more than 150 donors honored. Her name and photo were displayed on the stage screen, as a brief memorial was read. Matthew and I each received a certificate of thanks and a bronze medal, in Taylor's honor. Crissy and I made the family all t-shirts adorned with Taylor’s picture and the quote “If I could sit across the table from God, I’d thank Him for lending me YOU”. I also made a hand-made quilt square with her photo and some of her favorite things bedazzled on (think peace signs and butterflies :-). The quilt square will join hundreds of others in one large blanket that will travel around the world on display, so that others will know Taylor and just some of what she gave the world.

To date, Taylor’s “gift” has saved or improved the lives of 42 people. Her corneas were given to an elderly lady so that she could see better. Parts of her heart were distributed among 41 others in an attempt to either save lives or improve the quality of life.

Would we selfishly take it all back if we could have her here today? Certainly. We miss our smiling, silly, vivacious girl! But that was not a part of God's plan.

Today, others live because of Taylor’s decision to give selflessly. I ask that each of you think and pray about what a difference you can make in the lives of others even after you are gone. If you can make that selfless decision and give the gift of life to others after your own death, please go to http://donatelifetn.org/ and register as a donor.

***One thing I didn’t know before this ceremony is that you CAN donate your skin, tissue and bones and still have an open-casket funeral. They perform the surgery so that it is undetectable during the funeral.

This is a poem my sister found on the internet regarding organ donation:


The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with the living and the dying.

At a certain moment, a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.

When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine, and don't call this my death bed. Let this be called the bed of life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.

Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby's face or love in the eyes of a woman.

Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain.

Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.

Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist.

Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk.

Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that someday a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.

Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.

If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all prejudice against my fellow man.

If by chance you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or a word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.

Robert N. Test
Contributed by Fran Sawyer --- Florida

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Autopsy Results - Taylor Helps Others

(reposted as shared by Taylor's mom, Jennifer, on Facebook)

I know a lot of people are still under the impression that Taylor had meningitis when she passed away. Honestly, that was just the best guess Vanderbilt could come up with to explain it. A "guess" wasn't going to be good enough for us. We consented to a brain autopsy to see if they could find any other explanations...and a more concrete answer for us.

No sign of meningitis was found. The findings were as follows:

Findings and Diagnosis: "Focal Cortical Dysplasia", left middle frontal gyrus
Clinical history of prolonged status epilepticus and terminal multiorgan failure
Acute hemorrhage, left caudate, right middle frontal gyrus
No evidence of encephalitis or active infectious processes

Discussion and Cause of Death Statement:
Microscopic examination of the brain demonstrates a focus of focal cortical dysplasia in the frontal lobe. It is a non-neoplastic developmental abnormaility where the neurons are large and disorganized. Areas of cortical dysplasia often result in prolonged seizures. It is likely that this area of cortical dysplasia served as the nidus for the patient's seizures.

Of course, this is only a small portion of the autopsy report...it is almost 4 pages long with a lot of techinical terminology that we didn't understand. When it was explained to us by the doctors the conclusion was this: there is NOTHING more that could have been done by Vanderbilt, family, or Taylor. The mortality rate of children with this abnormality is only 15%. Each seizure Taylor suffered in her lifetime could have been "the one" that took her life. We were very fortunate and blessed to have her for 14 wonderful years! This abnormality forms in a part of the brain that develops in the first trimester of pregnancy. It is possible that the on-set of puberty and her using more of her brain during so is what caused this final uncontrollable seizure.

The autopsy at least gave us some comfort; knowing that we did all we could have possibly done for our daughter was helpful in alleviating some of the "what if's" we have struggled with.

Her father,CJ, Nana, and myself all did exactly as we should have done that weekend...we comforted our baby and assured her that all would be okay. Even though "ok" for us never actually came...I am sure of the fact that Taylor is now "ok".

Another awesome fact: I spoke with Vanderbilt Organ Donor center today and Taylor's heart has been used to save at least 40 lives so far! Her corneas helped a woman with cataracts to be able to see again! Even from the grave she is helping others! That fact amazes me!
In loving memory of Taylor Michelle Brown

Jennifer Powell Seal Additional comment:
There is no way to "be aware" of this abnormality unfortunately. It is only seen under Microscopic viewing of that specific brain location...only during autopsy. It is believed that a lot of babies diagnosed with SIDS actually had this abnormality...there is no way of really being certain because most families will not consent to brain autopsy on ... See Moretheir babies. I certainly don't blame them for not wanting to do that. I respect their decisions...but unfortunately that is the only way to save other lives and start really looking into this so we can develop a way to prevent it or at least detect it before it's too late. Dr's said even if they HAD been able to detect it sooner they would not have operated...would have to resection too much brain and would have decreased quality of life by too much.
February 19 at 2:23pm ·

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thank You Again

Taylor's family continues to be overwhelmed by the generosity and thoughtfulness of extended family, friends, and even strangers who have come forward to offer support.

The benefit was a wonderful and touching event; Taylor's friends (and their parents) continue to check in on Jennifer; and anonymous donors have provided everything from sweet condolence cards to a vase for Taylor's grave site.

I can't say that as time goes on it gets any easier... for many who were closest to Taylor it actually has gotten harder. There are good days and bad - but never a day without her on our minds and in our heart. The best days are when something strange and funny happens, as if her mischievous spirit is reaching out to us :-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Concert for Taylor; June 23rd 6-8pm

The Brown family has some wonderful friends in Nashville. Taylor grew up listening to these folks; they even wrote a song about her, years ago. Now, this coming Tuesday, June 23rd, they will host a concert in her honor... (see portions of the poster below)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Remembering Taylor on Her Birthday

Today Taylor would have been 14 years old. That's a hard pill to swallow - and something that's been on my mind all day long. I could not think of the words or actions fitting enough to pay to tribute to her or to comfort Jen and Matthew.

So, I will say what another good friend of the family said... "knowing her and losing her has been a life-altering experience." It's made me rethink about priorities and how I've been living my life lately. It's made me pay attention more to others that may be walking by in the store and engulfed in their own life struggles - and to offer small kindnesses in response, as my own way of paying tribute to Taylor and all the good people who helped our family during this difficult time.

Through this whole ordeal I have been in awe of Jennifer, Matthew, Dan, CJ, and Taylor's grandparents. They have acted with such grace and strength.

The services on Taylor's behalf were beautiful, too. We are all thankful for the many people who attended and have shown their support in other ways. I know that Taylor is so proud! I know she feels our love today.

Aunt Janet

Saturday, May 30, 2009

As most of you already know, my little angel, Taylor Brown is now one of God's little angels. She passed on Friday, May 29th at 1:25pm. It was very sad, yet very peaceful as well. The staff at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital did such an excellent job, first at caring for Taylor, and then also at helping our family through the process of letting her go on to Heaven. They definetely showed us that this is not just a JOB for them...they care deeply about their patients and mourned our loss with us.

I got a very special "gift" from Taylor before all this happened. One day in the car, she started talking about what she wanted her funeral (or PARTY, as she put it) to be like. She specified that she did not want to be cremated or buried in the ground...she wanted to be in one of those "drawers in the wall thingys"! She also said no one was allowed to wear black or cry....I know we are going to shed some sad tears but we also would like to shed some happy ones remembering the good times and how much joy she brought into our lives!

Arrangements are as follows:

"Celebration of the Life of Taylor Brown"
When: Monday, June 1st @ 6pm
Where: LifePoint Church (formerly FBC of Smyrna) on Legacy drive in Smyrna, TN

"Memorial Service and Final Placement"
When: Tuesday, June 2nd (Visitation begins at noon and will continue until the service begins at 3pm)
Where: Mount Olivet Funeral Home on Lebanon Pike in Nashville, TN

REMEMBER...NO BLACK! Wear bright colored, celebratory clothing to BOTH services!

EVERYONE is welcome to come to both. Even if you never actually met Taylor or our family, we would certainly love to meet you and thank you in person for your prayers, donations, love, and support!

Jennifer Brown-Seal

Friday, May 29, 2009

To Those Who Loved Taylor

jennifer and matthew thank everyone who kept taylor in their thoughts and prayers. miss taylor passed away today at 1:25 pm. she went very peacefully. her family was with her the whole time. taylor will live on in all our hearts; so for anyone who knew taylor and shared her hopes and dreams please live them for her. may God bless taylor and everyone who loved her.....

Missy Davis