Three-year-old Tayzli Hale loved dancing, singing, playing with her brothers, and she loved to ride horses. Tayzli was thrown from her horse when an approaching car spooked the animal. When she fell, she hit her head and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
“I got there and seen Tayzli on the ground and my world just stopped. It was like slow motion. You don’t ever think your own kid’s going to die” said father, AJ Hale.
Tayzli was life-flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT. Her family was at her side for 24 hours prior to doctors declaring that all brain activity had ceased. Tayzli’s friends and family were able to see her and say good-bye. But Tayzli’s mom and dad now faced their worst nightmare.
“We were ultimately just trying to make the decision if she doesn’t come out of it, what do we do? And trying to make that decision to donate her organs, it was really hard because it’s not the way you picture saying bye to your child, there just wasn’t anything we could do. Ultimately, we decided to help as many people as we could by donating her organs” said mother, Whitney Hale.
The Hale family wrote a letter to Tayzli’s heart recipient and soon received a response. Both families have now become close friends. Tayzli’s heart was transplanted into a little boy from Utah. He calls Whitney and AJ his “heart mom and dad.” His family is so grateful to the Hales for giving their little boy a chance to live.
“They’re the sweetest family…we celebrate birthdays and holidays together. The first time we met them they brought a stethoscope, and we were able to listen to her heart. They gave us a Build a Bear and they got her heartbeat from the hospital and put it inside so that was really special,” said Whitney.
From the moment they decided to donate Tayzli’s organs, the Hales made the decision to reach out to all the families that received her organs because they wanted to stay connected to her. They are so grateful that they got to be parents to Tayzli. And the impact she’s made on other lives through organ donation has been incredible to them.
After Tayzli passed, her dad, AJ, started rebuilding a 1985 Ford F250 In Tayzli’s memory. It had been sitting outside his home and it became his therapy. It took him three years to finish it. He even painted the engine pink because the engine is the heart of the truck and Tayzli’s heart is still beating strong and now the engine does too. “Every time I drive it, I wish she was here with me. It feels like she’s looking down on me and happy that I built that truck for her,” said AJ. The Hale’s received wonderful support when they lost Tayzli and they want to give back to other families that have suffered a similar loss. They started a foundation called the Tay-Tay-Tough Foundation. It is their way to channel their grief towards something good. On their website you can learn more about Tayzli, the Tay-Tay-Tough Foundation, and how you can lend your support so that Tayzli will always be remembered.