Fighting Back: A Legacy

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We are a family that lost a beloved daughter and sister at the unthinkable age of 16. Our lives have been a journey of managing illness, grieving, finding ways to heal, and somehow learning to live in spite of the loss. With the hardship, though, the loss of Taylor has given our family the passion, compassion, dedication, and determination to help other children with cancer. We still get our strength from Taylor.

I now serve on the National Gold Awareness Project to increase awareness of pediatric cancer through their designated color gold and the declaration of September as awareness month. When I was in New York City’s Times Square and it “went gold” to raise awareness of childhood cancer, it was a magical moment. I looked up to the heavens thinking about how much good Taylor continues to do and it jolted me back to when she was first diagnosed at age 11. At that time, we had no idea that September was anything other than back to school month or that gold would come to have such meaning for us. We had been blissfully unaware of the ravages of pediatric cancer.

When Bob and I went to DC to participate in the annual summit in Congress it was a whirlwind weekend of facts and figures, legislative information, and calls to action to promote awareness and funding for childhood cancer. We were there to fight the good fight, but all we could think about was how much we missed Taylor, her infectious laugh, her devilish personality, and her never-take-no-for-an-answer attitude towards life. Taylor was all about living; how could she possibly not be here?

The part of the weekend I will hold onto forever is when Bob and I stood, among many other stricken parents, to light candles in front of the White House while listening to the song Amazing Grace. As tears streamed down our faces, Bob and I held each other tight and felt Taylor right there with us.

Among the many gifts of Taylor, she left me to carry on her legacy, the torch of her mission to battle the beast of pediatric cancer. Just thinking of her reinforces the importance of what I do. Today and always, we will keep Taylor’s spirit, her thirst to make change, and her dedication to help others alive. We will never take no for an answer.

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