Taylor Grainger, a vibrant, lovely 14-year-old young woman, died two years ago today. We loved her well, my kids looked up to her, and she was well liked by all who saw her huge smile. Taylor happens to be my niece; my brother's daughter.
Since her death, many good things have happened in her honor:
* My brother and a cycling group called Team Taylor have raised over $100,000 for Make-a-Wish. This not only gives other sick kids great memories but it gives my brother and sister-in-law and their kids something important, something lasting and something tangible to hold onto even though their world fell apart. They ride again this July on a 300 mile route from Traverse City to Chelsea, MI. In my sidebar is an icon you can click on to find out more.
* Friends, family and art supporters donated thousands of dollars to the Children's Hearts Fund as a result of an Art Show that I am involved with each year. Through various other efforts, over $50,000 was raised for CHF in Taylor's name. This group, in Buffalo, NY, is the only organization working toward a cure for Protein-Losing Enteropathy. PLE is a result of a specific heart surgery that Taylor had when she was two.
* Hundreds of people around town wore, and continue to wear, pink bracelets that remind us all to "Walk Tall" and be proud of who we are. Her favorite color was pink, so most things done now in her honor prominently feature pink.
* After taking more than a year off from my art (just didn't have it in me any more), I began experimenting with a series of mosaics to sell for the Children's Hearts Fund fundraiser. At the time all the mosaics had a heart theme. I continue this venture into paper mosaics, with various themes, now and get more excited about the possibilities each time I complete a mosaic project. She is with me on these!
* My kids continue to remember her in special ways and grow as caring people in their remembering. For instance, this poem was written by my daughter, Claire, earlier this Spring, about Taylor.
Inside this girl…
Inside this girl
Her name is Taylor Grainger
Inside her, lives the strongest army a girl could ever have.
They are a hot pink, and are called “pinks”
The pinks fought to keep Taylor safe for years
And the all to soon only one pink was left,
This pink fought and fought,
But then when this last pink was defeated, Taylor was too.
Yes, this is all good stuff, but we'd much rather have her with us.