My name is Taylor Woods and I am the newest addition to the Children’s Village family as an intern this summer. With my newly discovered Interdisciplinary Studies major and Nonprofit Administration minor, my goal is to help children with special needs. Although I don’t believe I have those special characteristics that are needed to be a therapist or doctor to help these children, I know that I can use my skills to support them in other ways.
This career path isn’t coincidental. At age six I was living in Yakima with my parents and two brothers. My family soon noticed that my gymnastics skills were faltering as my vision was lessening. They told me I had a brain tumor, but it was not cancerous. I traveled to Seattle and underwent an eight hour surgery. I had radiation therapy at the University of Washington for seven weeks and a new draining version of chemotherapy almost as often. In the fourth grade, I had another surgery to replace the first. After that, I had yearly checkups and haven’t had any problems since. Yet, daily life-sustaining medicines are still a must and, until recently, I had to take a growth hormone shot every day. Although I lost vision in my right eye, I have not lost the energy for sports and had the privilege of driving at age 16 and I thank God often that I am still here.
During these tough times, I frequently used the services at Children’s Village and Memorial Foundation. I attended almost all of the events; including the Radiothons, Easter egg hunts, summer camps and was a child escort in the Mr. East Valley pageant. Physical therapy, counseling at the Village and the strong relationships that were built were instrumental tools in my success. My radio story “Butterfly Kisses” is still remembered by most of The Memorial Foundation and can still make my father cry on cue. I would not be the person I am proud to be today, and would definitely not have scored this amazing internship if I didn’t have these loving people rooting for me.
Thanks to my life-saving doctors, family and Children’s Village, I am now a happy 20-year-old junior in college. I am on the Dean’s List and the honor society, a Public Relations Club board member and have a part-time job. I often think about the struggles I’ve overcome and how they still affect me. But I’m pushing on, still stubborn and not embarrassed to tell my story. I only hope that one day I’ll have happy, healthy kids to share it with and help them become strong people, no matter what circumstances life throws their way. But for now, I’m just looking forward to the rest of college and my future.
I hope one day to help special needs children by coordinating camps, fundraisers, and social events, working with sponsors, developing new services and helping their families out in any way possible. I think to myself how I could use my skills to show the world these wonderful children who have so much heart. I am so excited to be present in the lives of these children, just as certain adults were for me when I was young. I want them to look to me not only when they need help, but also for inspiration and encouragement.