No Time to Spare
In the spring of 2000, Taylor was a seemingly healthy little girl in a perfectly happy family. She was two and adored her four-year-old sister, Savannah.
Then one evening the family set out on an after-dinner walk. Taylor began limping. So naturally mom, Paula, shook out Taylor’s shoes assuming there must be a pebble inside. But the limp persisted.
When x-rays ordered by Taylor’s pediatrician returned normal, it was Paula’s maternal instincts that set the family on a medical quest for an answer. As doctors ran tests for juvenile arthritis or some sort of orthopedic problem, Paula called a neurologist, who, as luck would have it, had an immediate opening. Taylor was scheduled for an MRI, and the next phone call would change their lives.
“We learned over the phone that Taylor had a brain tumor,” recalls Paula. “The neurologist felt there was no time for a face-to-face meeting with him.” Taylor had immense swelling in her brain and was sent immediately to Dr. Herbert Fuchs, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center.
The swelling on Taylor’s brain was so severe that Fuchs said she could suffer a catastrophic event--stroke, blindness or even death-- within days, hours or even minutes. There was no time to spare, no time to even consider a second opinion. “We’re so thankful to have been at Duke Children’s,” says Paula.
The surgery was a success, and the tumor was benign. Taylor had two more stays in the hospital that year due to complications from scar tissue, resulting in the placement of a brain shunt.
One evening after their normal routine returned, Paula, feeling grateful for the gift of Taylor’s health, read aloud to her family about an opportunity to give back to Duke Children’s.
“We had given back some by taking gifts to the pediatric patients whenever we went for Taylor's annual check-ups, but I wanted to do more.”
Taylor’s family decided to host a big end-of-summer party at their home. They invited family and friends and asked them to bring their spare change for a good cause, hoping to raise a few hundred dollars and have a fun time with friends. Inspired by Taylor, people opened their hearts and wallets. Over the past six years, this family’s salute to the end of summer has raised more than $25,000 for Duke Children’s.
“I can't begin to tell you how good it makes me feel to hand our proceeds over to Duke Children’s,” says Paula. “I know that the money stays in the hospital and pays for many of the things like stuffed animals and toys, artwork and video games that made our stay as pleasant as it possibly could have been.”