Because my little sister has a non-profit organization named for her, she’s more famous than most girls her age. A lot of people – from close friends and family to perfect strangers all over the world – send well wishes and bear hugs her way. She’s the star of a website and social media sites and this blog. She’s been featured in newspapers and magazines and television news stories.
She even has a secret fan club.
In 2006 – the same year we learned Taylor has Batten disease – Mom served on the board of the Council for Children’s Rights; she got to know the organization’s development assistant, a young woman about my age, and sponsored her for the Junior League of Charlotte.
Taylor breezed her way into this young woman’s heart. The two became fast friends, meeting for ice cream cones and puppy walks (the young woman helped Taylor get a Bichon Frise – a cottony ball of energy and love named Sunny to complement her own easygoing Bichon, Mason).
Soon, packages began to arrive in my parents’ mailbox. Addressed to Taylor, the envelopes identified the sender simply as “Taylor’s Secret Fan Club.” They contained silly glasses and mixed CDs and art supplies; “girly girl” stuff from Michael’s or the $1 section at Target.
About a year later, this young woman gained acceptance to law school at Northwestern University in Chicago. Taylor was happy for her friend but sad that she wouldn’t get to see her every week. She understood her friend’s decision, though, because she believes everyone should follow their dreams.
Not too long after Taylor said goodbye to her friend, she received another package from her secret fan club. It had a Chicago return address.
Taylor’s Secret Fan Club moved its headquarters a few more times over the next couple of years, but its president has never forgotten my little sister. And regardless of what the future holds, I’ll never forget the love she squeezed into all of those packages or the love she showered on Taylor – her special friend.
She gives me reason to believe.