In the year 2008 Taylor Mitchell, a young boy of 11 was diagnosed with a condition which changed his, and his family’s life forever. After courageously fighting against the incurable illness for four years, attending hundreds of medical appointment, undergoing many operations, and three months of painful treatment in the USA, Taylor’s family were informed by the medical profession with the devastating news that Taylor’s prognosis was terminal. It was estimated that the Taylor had just two years left to live, a life shattering blow for the whole family on an unimaginable scale.
When Taylor first became ill he told his Mum “If they ever tell you I’m going to die, don’t tell me because I don’t want to give up”, Taylor’s Mum kept this promise, however, it was clear that Taylor was acutely aware of his position, he was a wise young man, far beyond his years. This statement came as no surprise from Taylor to the ones who knew him, his spirit for life was one of passion, courage and humour in the face of adversity. In fact his favourite Nike T’shirt was ‘Never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up”, he never did give up, and even at the end of his life, he used humour to lighten the burden of the ones he loved around him.
In 2009 Taylor and his mother watched the film Bucket List; the film is about two cancer patients who write a bucket list of things they want to do before they die. Both Taylor and his Mum were tearful by the end of the movie and Suzi, Taylor’s Mother, asked her son if he would like to write his own bucket list. The answer was yes and they began to compile a list of things Taylor wanted to do, people he wanted to meet and places he wanted to go.
When two dear friends of the family, Julie Little and Trudy Yardley, heard about Taylor’s list, they began a fundraising campaign which was named ‘Taylor’s Bucket of Wishes’ to enable Taylor to achieve his dreams. Over the next two years, valuable funds were raised to enable Taylor to tick off his list and enjoy the time he had left with his family and friends.
Many exciting adventures were had in the last two years of Taylor’s life, including a dream holiday in the wonderful tree house at Centre Parks, swimming with dolphins, meeting the crew of the Red Arrows, seeing the stage show Lion King, meeting his favourite team Tottenham Hotspur and his top player Gareth Bale, not to mention the wonderful international ‘A’ list national treasure Mr David Beckham himself.
Other things on his list were things like an iPad, iPhone, Fred Perry sun glasses, mini fridge for his room and a state of the art coffee machine!!! These objects didn’t take away the reality and gravity of the situation but they did add a little happiness, provide events to look forward to, and more importantly, create space to share special quality times with his loved ones. A little light to brighten the darkness at a time when life was excruciatingly difficult for Taylor and his family to bare.
Laughter played a large part in Taylor’s life, often joking around with his family with his dry, comical sense of humour. His comic hero was the wonderful comedian John Bishop and when he was very ill and bedridden, he often watched John’s comedy DVDs with his Mum and brothers; his laughter filled the air and John created some memorable cherished chuckles and smiles! They say laughter is the best medicine, it eased the pain for Taylor that’s for sure. John was one of the few people Taylor wanted to meet and he was lucky enough to meet him in Nottingham in 2011 after John kindly invited him and his family to his Sunshine shows. Subsequently John has agreed to be the official patron of Taylor Made Dreams and we feel deeply privileged and honoured with his support towards Taylor’s legacy.
It was whilst fulfilling Taylor’s list that Suzi decided she would one day set up a charity to do the same for other children with life-limiting illnesses, the seed was sown and a three year plan began to develop. In 2012 Suzi put her plan into action and worked towards making her vision a reality, she approached her friend Amanda who worked in the charity sector, and together they got charitable registration status for Taylor Made Dreams. The three year plan came into fruition in just under two years and Taylor Made Dreams became a registered charity in August 2014 – Charity Registration Number – 1158174.
A fitting legacy to an inspirational young man who touched the hearts of so many and will live on in the smiles of children for years to come.