Taylor's family L-R: Jodie (mother), Edwin (father) and Emma (sister)
When they were faced with making the decision to donate Taylor's organs in 2019, they knew that their son would not have thought twice.
"We thought about what our boy would want to do and we knew that he would want to help anyone in any way. He never thought of himself," said Edwin.
Taylor's donation inspired his own family to register as organ donors. "It made us look at our own end-of-life plans and we realized what a difference we can make, especially to the recipients who receive this gift of life," shared Jodie.
For the Berle family, the donation journey has been powerful. They have embraced this experience as a thoughtful way to reach out to others and share the importance of organ donation.
Tell us about your son, Taylor.
He was so kind hearted and the kind of kid who still hugged his momma. My favorite memories of Taylor are him hugging me, just because. I would ask him why and his answer was simple – because he wanted to.
Taylor absolutely LOVED hockey. He joined as a second year atom and did not know how to skate or stop until the end of that first season. His was given the nickname "moose" for those early years because his long legs flopped all around the ice. Once he figured out how to skate, he was unstoppable and became one of the best players for speed. He took the sport very seriously when it came to games and made sure he never missed any practices.
Your family held an organ donor awareness event to honour Taylor – what did this mean to you?
It was held on July 9th, 2021 on what would have been Taylor's 20th birthday in our home community. It was bittersweet, and we all felt very honored to be a part of it. He would be proud too. It was the best gift as his mom because it meant that people haven't forgotten about our Taylor.
Death is such a taboo topic but we can help normalize how common it is – it can happen to anyone. We can find ways to talk about and honour it, in our community.
Is there a message you'd like to share with Taylor's organ recipients?
One word – kindness! Please continue paying it forward. Make a difference, because you now have the chance to.
Tell us one thing you really want the world to know about Taylor.
Taylor was a giving person. He was incredibly helpful around the house and always made sure that his mother and sister were warm by keeping a fire going when I was away for work.
I always remembered coming home from work and seeing that he had plowed the yard to make sure his mother could get into the driveway. I was always proud of how he looked out for not just himself but everyone else's safety.
What was your relationship like with Taylor?
My son and I never had a dull moment. When we had chores to do, we worked together to get them done quicker so we could get out to play.
He was never afraid to try anything once. We bought him a dirt bike before he could ride a pedal bike and took him to the gravel pit to ride around. We enjoyed getting out to fish in any season. We loved the outdoors and would skidoo in the winter, just because.
Taylor's passion and commitment to hockey was so strong that I built him a rink at home. He practiced shooting pucks every single day after school. He made sure that he was never late for practice and that his family was always there to cheer him on for tournaments. I bet he is still playing.
We always enjoyed each other's company and spent time together laughing and bonding over the hobbies we both fell in love with.
Is there anything you'd like to share with Taylor's recipients?
Taylor was a healthy and strong young man and he was nothing but full of love. I hope that everything with you and your families are doing well and wish the best and brighter things for you in the coming future. Our family is grateful that we were able to donate when help was needed. We just did what our son would have wanted us to do. He always thought of helping others, when they needed help. He will always be our little hero.