Stephen Taylor, a devoted father and 2017 Tallahassee Magazine Top Single Honoree, selected Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare’s (TMH) Children’s Center as his chosen charity. The Top Singles event raises thousands of dollars for various charities, with $2,500 going to the Children’s Center, a place Stephen has been personally connected to since his daughter, Kaelyn, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age four.
“In a word, her diagnosis was tough. You never think it will happen to your own kid,” said Stephen. “I never could have imagined my own daughter being diagnosed with cancer, especially at such a young age. I didn’t even know what Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia was.”
Kaelyn was treated at UF Health Shands Children’s hospital in Gainesville, and received blood transfusions and other intermittent treatment at the Kids Korner in TMH’s Children’s Center. The only unit of its kind in Tallahassee, the Kids Korner is a special outpatient area for young patients that offers lab work, blood transfusions, endocrine studies, IVs, pre- and post-operative care, and recovery from procedures requiring sedation.
“Going to the Kids Korner was great. It was so nice not to have to travel all the way to Gainesville, and it’s such a beautiful facility that it makes doctors appointments a breeze,” said Stephen. “The Children’s Center did so much for me and my family.”
After seeing how much TMH’s Children’s Center helped him and his daughter through an incredibly difficult time in their life, Stephen knew he wanted to figure out how he could give back. When he was selected to be a Tallahassee Top Single, Stephen knew exactly who he would choose for his charity.
“It was a no-brainer choosing Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. They have given my daughter and I so much, the least I could do is give back,” said Stephen. “TMH is a true pillar in our community, and I had such a great time raising money for them that I now try to do more even after the event has ended. My whole experience at TMH was amazing and I’m glad that I can now help them in return.”
Stephen and his daughter, who is now 11-years-old, are back to their regular, cancer-free lives. Stephen and Kaelyn come back to the Kids Korner a few times a year to do blood work and regular check-ups.
“If I could give advice to other parents going through a child’s cancer diagnosis, I would tell them to never lose faith,” said Stephen. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you can never give up hope. Know that the doctors and nurses are there for you, and they will help you every step of the way.”
For more information about the Tallahassee Memorial Children’s Center or how you can give back, please contact JoAnne Adams at JoAnne.Adams@TMH.ORG or 850-431-5931.