At 10 years old, after coming home from a field trip one day, Taylor Scheibe’s parents discovered a growth on her neck and took her to the doctor to get it checked. Then came the diagnosis: large cell lymphoma, which is a form of cancer that attacks the lymphatic system. From then on, “Tay’s” life changed forever.
Thoughts of playing sports and being like other kids faded away, and in its place came the emotional challenge of being accepted with her illness. “When I was told what cancer was and how it would affect the way I looked and felt, I was very angry,” says Tay. “I was scared that nobody was going to want to be my friend because of my hair loss and the fact that I could not do some of the same things my friends were doing.”
The battle of cancer was hard and painful for her as she always felt weak and tired. Tay rarely had enough energy to participate in common childhood activities and often missed school due to her low immune system. Her treatment — which Tay says was worse than the cancer itself — came with its ups and downs. “Many kids stared and made comments about having to wear a wig and a mask in public. Some kids even went so far as to think they could catch cancer from me.”
But there was one thing that Tay did not have to do during her two fights with cancer, and that was face it alone. With the support of her family and friends, she fought hard physically and emotionally to overcome the disease. That included visits from Tom Coughlin and Mark Brunell, who, at that time, were both with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Almost 11 years later and finally cancer-free, 22-year old Tay had a vision. Since she was a cancer survivor herself, she felt she could be an advocate for other kids who were also fighting cancer, just like she had done. The combination of her passion for giving back and her love of children, prompted Tay to actively support the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation through volunteering at events and create With Love.
With Love focuses on spending time with children who are battling cancer or other life- threatening diseases and offering them, as well as their families, hope and peace of mind. As any child would want, Tay brings toys to each of them when she makes her visits to the hospital.
“Toys symbolize childhood to me,” she writes on her website. “Fighting cancer makes you grow up fast. When you’re stuck in a hospital room for days or weeks at a time, you just pray to be a normal kid again. I want to remind these children that they are simply that, children. What better way to remind them by placing a new toy in their hand?””
Nominated by her mom and dad, Joe and Pam Greene they say “Tay is our Childhood Cancer Hero. Despite battling cancer twice & receiving a bone-marrow transplant, she continues to inspire us with her faith, strength, courage and devotion to helping children battling life-threatening diseases through With Love. Recently she received two recognition awards for her charitable work in the Jacksonville community: Positively Jax and Top 30 Under 30. The list goes on….there are not enough words to describe what a blessing she is.”
In the face of her own mortality, Taylor faced every battle with courage, dignity and strength far beyond her years. Taylor credits her faith, family and friends with the love and support needed to help battle this disease, and she is certainly a Jay Fund Hero!
Donate to the Jay Fund in honor of Tay Scheibe or in honor of your hero! Every dollar makes a difference, when you have a child with cancer.
Thanks to Level5 Collective for Tay’s story.