In January 2018, at just 3 years old, Taylor fell ill. She was initially diagnosed with the flu, but after several appointments and a lack of improvement in her health, her doctors decided to conduct some blood tests.
Several hours later, Taylor’s parents received devastating news–Taylor was presenting with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She needed to undergo chemotherapy treatment almost immediately.
Taylor’s mother, Melissa, describes the three weeks they spent at the Oakland Children’s Hospital as some of the most challenging they ever faced as a family.
“It was probably the toughest time of our life,” she says. “Taylor had to be separated from Addison, her twin. It was the first time since birth that they hadn’t slept in the same bedroom. Not only was the poking and prodding and being around doctors so traumatic, but not being able to see her sister was just horrific.”
Treatment was incredibly hard on young Taylor. She lost the ability to walk just due to the treatments and the effect it had on her bones. Later on, she ended up losing her hair, and “all those nasty side effects kicked in,” says Melissa.
Taylor’s mom has been so impressed with her strength and courage throughout this ordeal. “It’s incredible how well she’s taken on everything she’s been going through,” says Melissa. “It’s been pretty traumatic, but she’s gone through it with a smile on her face.”
Thankfully, today Taylor’s cancer is in remission and there are no detectable leukemic cells in her body. April 2, 2020 will be her last day of treatment. “She is definitely making a huge rebound,” Melissa says.
When it came time for Taylor to make her wish, Melissa says “she was really set on meeting Princess Elena of Avalor.” Melissa thought it was because Taylor had met other Disney princesses before but not Elena. She was a little surprised to learn more about what drew Taylor to the character–Elena’s bravery and courage in the face of adversity. In the Disney Channel series, young Elena saves her magical kingdom from an evil sorceress and must quickly learn to be a leader.
“Her dresses are beautiful… but she is so strong!” Taylor said when asked why she wanted to meet Elena. “She stands up and fights and is so brave. I just love her!”
In the days and weeks leading up to their big trip, Taylor’s anticipation grew. “When she first found out about it, it’s all she talked about”, says Melissa. “She was beyond excited! It also gave her something to focus on and think about during difficult days or when she wasn't feeling well.”
Soon, Taylor and her family were on their way to Disney World for another new and unforgettable experience. It was Taylor’s first-ever time on an airplane. She and her twin sister Addison got to meet their beloved princess, Elena, and she even played hide and seek with them.
The family stayed at Give Kids the World—a special resort for families who are visiting with Make-A-Wish—and had a great time there as well. “Everybody there is so friendly, they are so attentive to your needs,” says Melissa. “It couldn’t have been more perfect.”
Melissa says that Taylor’s Make-A-Wish experience was a glimmer of happiness during an incredibly tough time. “The week before we left for the trip was a horrible week, full of body aches, pain, and lots of tears... but the entire week we kept talking about where we were going and who we were going to see, and that made Taylor smile, which was priceless,” she says. “Make-A-Wish gave Taylor the opportunity to feel like the most special little girl during the most horrible time.”
“Kids like Taylor endure so much... so much of their childhood is taken away when fighting for their life,” says Melissa. “These wishes remind the children that they are incredibly special and can still have fun and smile while going through so much to stay alive.”
Taylor’s wish was adopted by a generous family. Our Adopt-A-Wish program offers a unique opportunity to make an immediate, direct and substantial impact on the life of a child by underwriting the average cost of a wish with a donation of $10,000.