Taylor Mayes is the spunky Make-a-Wish child who graced our cover last April. We met Taylor and her family as we joined forces with businesses and organizations across Orange County, and Ellen K of 103.5 KOST FM, to help make Taylor’s wish of becoming a singer and living the popstar experience come true. Taylor had been fighting Ewings Sarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissue, and had only been released from the hospital after a grueling final round of chemo a few days before our cover shoot. We have had so many readers want to know how she is doing, we arranged for an update with Taylor and her family. The first step was going back to the KOST Studio where she surprised us with the amazing news that she was in remission, and we surprised her with the news that she would once again be our cover girl. While there, we chatted with Taylor’s mom, Lisa, about her progress.
“In the last year, as of Taylors’s March 15 final chemo treatment, life has been amazing. Amazing when times are good, and amazing when times are bad, because Taylor is here and our family is still whole. It was scary thinking we might have a family with one less so even with the ups and downs, we’ll take it.
“When summer came around, the Lake Forest Dolphins graciously offered her a scholarship to return to the swim team even though she wasn’t able to participate in the weekend meets because of the long length of the day.
“As far as the family, it took some time to transition back to ‘normal’. We had to learn how to all be together again and do normal activities together.
“Taylor started counseling soon after chemo finished to help her deal with her feelings of relief, anger, confusion, etc. — things that a seven year old was unable to understand or know how to deal with on her own. The play therapy has helped her find herself again, and a stronger self might I add. Her dad, Geoff, was able to go back to work after being her full-time caregiver for over a year. Life in the Mayes family is amazing. Again, not perfect because no family is but we will take anything as long as we are all here together.
“Taylor has a birthday this Sunday, March 19 and is turning 8. She is growing and getting taller. Surprisingly, she is not the smallest in her class which would be expected as her growth may not be strong because of the chemo. Since her sister Violet practices gymnastics, Taylor has been practicing doing the monkey bars at school. She would eventually like to challenge herself to be able to get across which she can not do because of the artificial bone and muscle in her shoulder. She was also able to go back on the radio recently to give an update and say “Hi” to Ellen K and Kara from Make-A-Wish OC/IE. We are so thankful for the amazing wish of becoming a famous singer that Make-A-Wish granted that included KOST 103.5’s Ellen K, Kara from Make-A-Wish, Sascha from Parenting OC Magazine, Ana Brandt for photography, the recording studio and probably so many more!”
Doctors say Make-a-Wish kids have a great advantage, because one of the most daunting and difficult things in treating cancers and other serious illnesses is to keep a child who is in pain and suffering compliant with medical necessities and keeping up the fight when they don’t even really understand why this is happening to them. Positivity and mindset is everything and can be a literal life saver.
Taylor wants to make sure another child who is dealing with a life altering illness can have the same amazing experience she did. She has taken on the roll of spokesperson for the Make-a-Wish OC/IE Walk for Wishes. She will also be a Virtual Walker, allowing members of the OC community and beyond to pledge to support Team Taylor. If she earns enough donations, reaching $5,000, she will be able to make another child’s dream come true. We are Team Taylor, please join us in supporting this amazing girl and an incredibly worthy cause. Visit www.ocie.wish.org/taylor to help.
By Sascha Zuger | Photography by Ana Brandt