Taylor Wilkins, Age 3, Myelodysplastic Syndrome

In his short 13 years, Taylor Wilkins has experienced more than most adults have.  At the age of 10, when he should have been thinking about baseball, video games and Cub Scouts, he was worrying about bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy and yes, even death.

(2005) – When this friendly and freckled-face young man was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia known as myelodysplastic syndrome, the Wilkins’ world was turned upside down and their second home soon became Texas Children’s Cancer Center.

“It was a very scary time for us,” said Kimberly Wilkins, Taylor’s mom.  “But we knew in our hearts that Texas Children’s was the only place for us to be.  Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer, the nurses and the rest of the staff treated us like family, which made such a huge difference.  A family needs that kind of comforting when they are going through such a traumatic and uncertain time.”

Dr. Dreyer explained to the Wilkins family that the treatment for Taylor’s condition would require a bone marrow transplant, in addition to intense chemotherapy and radiation.

Karly, Taylor’s younger sister, Kimberly and Doug, Taylor’ father, all were tested to see if they were a match for Taylor’s bone marrow.  None of them were appropriate matches and doom began to set in.

“But we continued to have faith,” said Doug.  “We knew somewhere out there would be a match for our son.  We prayed for a miracle and that’s what we got.”

Taylor received life-saving bone marrow from an unrelated donor and the Wilkins could breath a sign of relief until Taylor developed a nasty infection in his central line.

“Taylor was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit,” said Kimberly.  “He had septic shock and was in critical condition.  They put him on a ventilator and he was on kidney dialysis.  At that point, we even called a minister – things looked grim.”

But once again, the Wilkins’ faith prevailed and Taylor recovered, amazing doctors and nurses at Texas Children’s.

“Our experience at Texas Children’s is a true testimony of how blessed Houston is to have such a wonderful facility right here in its backyard,” said Doug.

Three years went by and Taylor was doing great.  He was in remission, just enjoying life – especially the Astros, of which he is a dedicated fan.

But this fall, the Wilkins family once again had to rely on their faith.

“The doctor found a lump on Taylor’s neck and was concerned about it,” said Kimberly.  “He wanted Taylor to have surgery so the doctor could do a biopsy.  He was worried that it might be cancerous cells.”

Immediately, a prayer chain, that included members of The New 93Q and Country Legends 97.5, was activated.  Taylor had become a special part of the “Cure Kids Cancer” radiothon last year.  He and his family stole the hearts of the DJs, as well as the radiothon staff at Texas Children’s.

To everyone’s relief, Taylor’s biopsy came back negative.

“Taylor’s experience has taught us not to take anything for granted,” said Doug.  “And that life is a precious gift.”