DALLAS – In February, Kathy Aulson was honored as a finalist for the Leadership Waxahachie award during the 88th annual Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce Academy Awards Banquet. The award, which goes to a community member who serves as a community role model by providing significant and effective community service, was ultimately awarded to the well deserving Julie Martin.
But Aulson will still have her chance to deliver an acceptance speech prior to year’s end.
It was announced Tuesday morning that the Waxahachie resident has been named one of two 2016 Outlive Yourself Award recipients by the Methodist Dallas Transplant Institute. The award will be presented Nov. 3 at the Belo Mansion in Dallas, according to the Taylor’s Gift Foundation (TGF).
TGF was founded on the premise to “regift life, renew health and restore families” after Taylor Storch, a 13-year-old from Texas, was tragically killed March 15, 2010 while on a spring break trip with her family, the organization’s mission statement reads.
Following their daughter’s passing, Todd and Tara Storch made the decision to donate Taylor’s organs. In doing so Taylor helped a 39-yeaer-old mother in Arizona with a new heart, a 33-year-old man in Colorado with a kidney, and donated a pancreas and her other kidney to a 49-year-old father in Colorado.
“Our daughter Taylor lived her life to fullest, impacting the lives of many and leaving a lasting legacy,” said Tara, co-founder of Taylor’s Gift Foundation. “It is with extreme pride that Todd and I congratulate Kathy and Robin [Bagwell] as the 2016 Outlive Yourself honorees. They’re making a difference right now and doing their part to leave their legacy.”
In 2011, Aulson turned her career of working as a nurse in intensive care units and emergency rooms into a business of providing care – mental and physical – to those individuals undergoing or having already undergone an organ transplant. According to the TGF, this work often occurs “in underserved rural locations throughout North Texas.”
“Kathy Aulson considers working with families who have lost a loved one make the decision to donate their organs to be the greatest honor of her career,” the official TGF award release reads. “She has also had the privilege of caring for transplant recipients of all types – heart, lung, kidney and liver – and is a proud member of the team that cared for Dallas’ first heart transplant at Methodist Medical Center.
“In addition to her career as an ER and ICU nurse, Kathy is also an attorney who has dedicated a large portion of her career working with abused children and their families. She has been successful at bringing together children and their parents, moving them from dysfunctional to functional and thereby enabling children to live out more normal lives in a safe, nurturing environment.”
Whether serving on the YMCA board of management, performing duties as an ER or ICU nurse, or even helping to spearhead the development of the Miracle League of Ellis County, Aulson has made it her personal mission to help those who cannot always help themselves.
“Kathy has played a vital role in the Miracle League of Ellis County,” said Jim Markle, president of the Miracle League of Ellis County (MLEC). “She has worked tirelessly to see that our organization had been established and our project has launched.”
The MLEC aims to provide a place for those with disabilities – from children to adults to veterans and the elderly – a place to play outdoors. The organization is currently finalizing plans to build a baseball and outdoor playground adjacent to the Waxahachie YMCA and the Avenue Church, said Markle.
“We are currently raising money for our baseball field and inclusive playground,” he said. “We are in the early stages of developing our site and hope to begin construction in January [and have it] completed in time for baseball in April.”
As for the 2016 Outlive Yourself Award, it will be presented Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. by all four co-chairs of the Methodist Dallas Transplant Institute – Saryn Dietz, Jonathan Dietz, Shaley Espinosa and Javier Espinosa – at the Belo in downtown Dallas. For tickets ($250), sponsorship opportunities ($2,500-10,000) or more information visit Taylorsgift.org.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith