Taylor Nelson is a typical 5-year old girl. She takes dancing lessons and plays soccer with her older brother, 7-year old Brent Jr. Taylor attends Churchill Preschool and has lots of energy, according to her mother, Heather Nelson.
But in September of 2007 what seemed like an innocent trip to the doctor to check out a persistent play injury turned into a nightmare for the Nelson family that would drastically change their lives forever.
''When you first find out, you have about seven seconds to take it all in, then you say, OK, what do we do now,'' said Taylor's father, Brent Nelson Sr.
Liberty Community News / Kathleen Evanoff
Members of Team Taylor in Liberty meet regularly to discuss fundraising and planning for the Liberty Relay for Life to be held May 15 and 16 at Churchill Park on Belmont Avenue. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and will continue throughout the night until 6 p.m. May 16. Pictured front row from left are: Kim Swain, Vicky Gouvas, Taylor Nelson, Heather Nelson and Brent Nelson Jr. Back row from left are: Dineen Rudibaugh, Susan Wilson, Tonya Taylor, Stephanie Bova, Brent Nelson Sr., Michelle Stanish and Joan Dallessandro.
What they did was fight back with all they had, spending sometimes weeks at a time crowded into a small hospital room while Taylor underwent treatments.
Scans, treatments, biopsies and the time spent at the clinic runs into millions of dollars, said Brent Sr.
Brent, who works as an investment counselor with WRP Investments in Liberty, is amazed at how the community pulled together when his daughter was first diagnosed with the disease that would later encourage family and friends to form a team for the upcoming Relay for Life.
''It's been really amazing that everyone we know does everything they can,'' said Brent Sr.
The team began as an information chain that kept everyone up to date on Taylor's progress, said team captain, Stephanie Bova.
''We started the chain so they (Heather and Brent) wouldn't have to take the time to let everyone know what was going on,'' Bova said. ''Then the list turned into a Relay team and word spread throughout friends, relatives and Brent's co-workers at WRP, '' she said.
Word spread like ripples in a pond, and now there are as many as 100 volunteers working to raise money for Team Taylor for the Liberty Relay for Life.
This is Team Taylor's first Relay event and they have spent the past several months holding fundraisers that include sales of candy, t-shirts, sweatshirts and bracelets. Bova organized a $5 dress-down days at the WRP offices, charging co-workers for the privilege of wearing jeans on Fridays.
The team also is geared up for the fairy tale theme that will proclaim, ''Happily Ever After Finding a Cure.''
The team's tent at the event will look like a castle, Bova said, complete with a drawbridge. Items for sale at the event will include plastic swords for potential knights in shining armor and tiaras for little princesses. They also will have face painting and sausage sandwiches by Depizzo Sausage. Sausage sandwiches will be cooked by family friend and Liberty police officer Dan Nichols.
The team meets regularly to go over the details.
''There isn't just eight or 10 people here,'' Brent Nelson said. "At our last meeting, there were 42 people here.
''This is the true spirit behind the Relay,''he said.
Unfortunately, the Nelson family won't be attending the Relay for Life event because Taylor will be having a treatment in Columbus that will keep the family occupied practically the entire month of May, Brent Nelson said.
The Liberty Relay for Life event will be held from 6 p.m. May 15 to 6 p.m. May 16 at Churchill Park on Belmont Avenue. The event will begin with a survivor's lap through the park. Luminaries can be purchased in memory of friends and family members for an elaborate but solemn lighting display to be held just after sunset. A survivor dinner will be provided to those walking the first lap by Bob Evans Restaurant.
Funds raised at Relay For Life will enable the American Cancer Society to support local services and resources for cancer patients and their families. Funds also support critical cancer research and community education programs designed to teach people how to reduce their risk of developing cancer.