Similar to many other little girls, four-year-old Taylor Hayes loves to play princess and horseplay with her older brothers. A shy and gentle soul when you first meet her, the fact that this little girl has been diagnosed with pediatric cancer for more than half of her life never reveals itself. Now in the remission stages, Saylor and her family are excited to begin a new life, hoping to leave the deadly disease in the past.
On November 16, 2010 Saylor Hayes was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, just a month after she turned two years old. With determination and perseverance Saylor made it through the maintenance process of her treatment where she continued to battle the disease with chemotherapy until 2013. Saylor is now recovering at home with mom, dad and her two older brother after months of chemotherapy, spinal taps and continual blood work.
“I do not know how she finds the strength,” commented Saylor’s mother Nicole Hayes. “We just went through it on a daily basis and you do what you have to do. She would always calm me down when I would be upset.”
Fortunately for Saylor, medical advancements in cancer treatment have led to significant survival rates for children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, 90% according to the American Cancer Society. Unfortunately, no level of innovation has led to the absence of pain for patients diagnosed with the disease. In additional to the physical sickness Saylor continually felt from chemotherapy treatment, she was also required many nights to stay overnight at the hospital away from her entire family.
Her mother, who stayed with Saylor every second she could, was sure to capture the entire two-year period from diagnosis to remission on camera to share with Saylor when she gets older.
“I don’t want her to remember the pain but I do want her to realize what she overcame and that she can do anything.” commented Mrs. Hayes.
Literally being sick more of her life than healthy, Saylor will now have the opportunity to experience what being a kid is all about. Now at home with her two older brothers, age fourteen and eleven, Saylor has been keeping them busy by wanting to catch up for lost time. Being placed in a soccer league next month, she also is looking forward to attending prekindergarten this year and beginning school in the Milford School District next year.
“We will be so glad to get everything back to normal and not have to worry about whether she can play with other kids or go to the beach, fearful that she may get an infection or get hurt,” commented Nicole. “Now we can relax a little bit and allow her to enjoy being a kid.”
Now finished with monthly chemotherapy and spinal taps, Saylor will continue to see her doctor on a regular basis for evaluations of her condition once a month for the first year and once every three months after that. The Hayes family credits much of their strength to the support of the local community. Several benefits and fundraisers over the past two years have helped the family with the enormous costs associated with Saylor’s treatments.
“The community really helped support us with the everyday things we needed to see and be with Sayor,” commented Mrs. Hayes. “I don’t know what we would have done without them.”