VANCOUVER, BC – As Jordan Harvey put it, Taylin McGill, her mom Erin, and older sister Kheya seemed like the “happiest people in the room” last week when Vancouver Whitecaps FC made their annual full-team visit to BC Children’s Hospital.
Taylin, 15, was all smiles.
She had some laughs with Harvey, got a hug from David Ousted, and participated in some fun games with the group – one of them involving an attempt to balance an Oreo on her face.
“It was tons of fun,” Taylin told whitecapsfc.com.
When asked what her favourite part of the day was, Taylin laughed and said: “Getting cookie in my eyebrow? I don’t know!”
It just seemed like Taylin was having the time of her life.
And that, according to her mom Erin, is nothing new – despite the fact that Taylin has undergone 14 brain surgeries, and suffered many more seizures including some that lasted up to 90 minutes, after being diagnosed with salmonella bacterial meningitis as an infant.
“I have to tell you, Taylin smiles every day. This was just some extra smiles on the day,” Erin told whitecapsfc.com. “She’s the reason why we look at life differently. We truly don’t sweat the small stuff. Little things are not a big deal in our house. And our life motto is Carpe Diem, which is seize the day. Because you never know when it can be taken from you. And she taught us that.”
There was a time in Taylin’s life when lengthy seizures and brain surgeries were a regular occurrence. There was even an instance where she was in a comma-like state and temporarily mute.
Her dad once told her: “I wish I could take all this away from you.”
And her response?
“No daddy, you don’t want this. I’m OK, I can do it my own.”
Taylin said there were a lot of “scary” moments in her childhood, but she always found comfort in the support she received from her family.
And that includes the staff at BC Children’s Hospital.
“I always say my family and friends are the people that work in the hospital,” she told whitecapsfc.com. “They’ve helped me through a lot.”
Taylin was at the hospital last week for a follow-up clinic visit, but it’s been seven years since she’s had brain surgery. And she’s no longer having the 90-minute seizures.
As her mom Erin said, “Taylin is healthy and happy.”
And Taylin has some advice for anyone else who may find themselves in a similar situation that she did growing up: “Never give up.”
“She’s a really strong girl,” said Whitecaps FC defender Jake Nerwinski. “Her mom was telling me what she’s battled through. It’s just unbelievable that she could have a smile on her face and that she fights through it every day.”
“You don’t take anything for granted after a trip like this,” added Harvey. “It just shows you some of the stuff people are fighting through. They could be very upset with whatever is going on with their situation, but to come out with that positive attitude and be the happiest people in that room … the mom, the sister, and Taylin, that’s inspiring."
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