After all the holiday bustle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we affectionately call today #GivingTuesday. Today we are celebrating a day where small businesses, large retailers, families, and people like you take a pause and come together to give to many charities and non-profits in need. With your support, Icing Smiles can continue to bake a difference in the lives of children and their families affected by the critical illness of a child. We rely on a generous team of volunteers spread throughout the U.S. to fulfill our mission which is why #GivingTuesday is so important. Here’s a story on how our volunteers provide a temporary escape from worry and create a positive memory during difficult times.
Taylor was born with only half a heart, a condition called HLHS. In California where her family lived, the doctors didn’t forsee any chances of her survival past birth, so her family researched and found the #1 doctor in the field in Columbus, Ohio. They traveled there to meet with this special doctor and eventually relocated to Ohio permanently.
Taylor has never taken the planned path. After 4 open heart surgeries and countless invasive procedures, she developed a rare condition called PLE all by the age of 3. She was given less than 5 years to survive unless she received a heart transplant. Unfortunately, her condition worsened rapidly and was listed for transplant in early 2013. Every day she fought extremely hard to stay with her family. She was hooked up to many lifesaving machines, wires, and tubes. She was very swollen and unable to eat orally. She also could barely walk or move without assistance.
One day we got the call we had been waiting for, a heart was available! She received her new heart September 1, 2013 during a 12 hour surgery! She took a turn for the worse about a week later and doctors said there was no way she would make it through, but, they had said that in years past when there seemed like there was no hope left. Taylor fought hard and long and proved everyone wrong once again.
After a long rough recovery that left her in a severe ICU psychosis for weeks, she was allowed to go home. 2014 turned out to be the best year of her life… no machines, she learned to walk, run, jump, and EAT! No more tubes, wires, machines and constant pain. Taylor got to experience so many new things that most of us take for granted even while on medications and under physical restrictions.
Her family was so excited to get Taylor a surprise Nemo dream cake for her preschool graduation party. It was a big to-do as nobody thought she would even see Kindergarten. All was well and steady for over a year until the night before her party. She suddenly developed a high fever, vomiting, shortness of breath and was turning blue. By morning she was taken by ambulance to Nationwide Children’s Hospital where they knew her well. She spent the next week in ICU, hooked up to many IVs and on a lot of oxygen to keep her going amongst other things. Her beautiful cake had already been made, so her family picked it up and brought it to the hospital. She didn’t get to eat any but she shared it with the entire Heart Team instead. She still loved that it was made with such love and care, just for her. The volunteer baker learned what happened and was so sad but the family told her that the cake was shared with some very important people and it made Taylor smile.