Family and friends of Taylor King founded Taylor’s Tale in Charlotte, North Carolina, after Taylor was diagnosed with infantile Batten disease in 2006.

Taylor’s Tale has no paid staff. We depend on the support of these dedicated board members and all of our volunteers, friends and donors to help us build a better future for the rare disease community.

Board of Directors, 2016-17

Sharon King, President     

Sharon KingSharon is a thought leader who has united public officials, researchers, biotech and industry representatives, and patient advocates to gain real progress in rare disease treatment development. She is a state-appointed member of the N.C. Advisory Council on Rare Diseases and chair of the N.C. Rare Disease Coalition. A graduate of Leadership Charlotte Class XVI and a past member of the Charlotte Rotary, she was honored as one of Charlotte’s 50 Most Influential Women in 2016 and received the Elon Homes and Schools Caring for Children Award in 2013. Sharon is past president of the Charlotte Piano Teachers’ Forum, Symphony Guild of Charlotte and Junior League of Charlotte, and she served on the Boards of the Council for Children’s Rights and the Association of Junior Leagues International. She was a North Carolina Delegate to the 1997 President’s Summit for America’s Future. Sharon is a graduate of Meredith College with a bachelor of music in applied piano.

Laura King Edwards, Vice President     

Laura King EdwardsLaura is an award-winning writer, marketing professional and passionate rare disease advocate. She specializes in content development at Wray Ward, where she helps leading brands craft compelling, effective content strategies. Previously, she worked for Novant Health, an integrated system of physician practices, hospitals and outpatient centers. With a passion for writing, Laura has a knack for finding unique news hooks and telling stories in ways that resonate with target audiences. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from Endurance Magazine and The Charlotte Observer to Oracle Fine Arts Review. Laura is also experienced in crisis communications and is a graduate of the FEMA Advanced Public Information Officer (APIO) program. She is a member of the Women’s National Book Association and North Carolina Writers’ Network and a past member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Charlotte Writers’ Club. Laura served on the Board of The Fletcher School and chaired the PR committee. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor of arts in English.

Karen Mayer Woods, Treasurer

Karen Mayer WoodsKaren is a senior financial analyst and assistant vice president with Bank of America in Charlotte. For 11 years she has worked in various accounting and finance functions within the bank’s chief financial officer (CFO) group. She earned a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in accountancy from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In her free time, Karen enjoys reading, cooking and yoga.

Stephen King, Secretary

Stephen is a supply chain planner at Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated. Previously, he served as a sales support analyst for M-D Products. An Eagle Scout and Charlotte native, Stephen graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor of science in business administration.

Melissa Bryant

Melissa BryantA Converse College graduate with a bachelor of arts in political science, Melissa recently retired after 23 years as a manufacturer’s representative in the retail industry. A volunteer with InReach and Brookstone Schools and a past member of the Junior League of Charlotte, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and Charlotte Country Day School boards, Melissa is also a dedicated rare disease advocate and the mother of Charlotte hero Bryant Graeber. Bryant was diagnosed with a rare disease called MPS1 after an eye exam in kindergarten showed corneal clouding. MPS1 causes an enzyme deficiency that leads to systemic dysfunction, because the body is unable to break down sugars. At 14, Bryant was one of 10 patients in an experimental enzyme replacement therapy clinical trial at UCLA; the drug therapy was approved by the FDA about four years later. Today regular treatments give Bryant, now in his early 30s, a higher quality of life and longer life, whereas without the drug, he was unlikely to survive beyond his teenage years. In 2005 the entryway and a plaque with Bryant’s likeness were dedicated at Charlotte’s popular Harris YMCA, where he has served as a greeter since 2003.

Jane Grosse, CFRE

Jane Grosse, CFREA certified fund raising executive (CFRE), Jane is vice president of institutional advancement for Elon Homes and Schools for Children. She trained at the Planned Giving Institute of William and Mary College and the Policy Governance Academy. As a sustaining member of the Junior League of Charlotte, she supports the Charlotte community by promoting volunteerism and mentoring future leaders. Jane is a graduate of Salem College with a bachelor of arts degree.

Judy Mayer

Judy MayerJudy Mayer is an independent consultant whose experience encompasses advertising, communications, marketing, public relations and special events positions in the education, finance, healthcare, fashion retail and telecommunications sectors. She has also collaborated to create and manage constituent communications and promotions for fundraising campaigns that have generated millions of dollars. Currently, she serves as communications chair for the Junior League of Charlotte Sustainer Board. A graduate of Louisiana State University with a bachelor of arts in journalism, Judy also holds a certificate in non-profit management from Duke University.