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news News Monday, April 29, 2019 Monday, April 29, 2019 11:17 AM - Monday, April 29, 2019 11:17 AM

Taylor's story

"We went because the care was superior"

Taylor's story

When Taylor arrived at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Cincinnati more than 20 years ago, no one could have predicted that his doctor’s recommendation for healing would put him on a path to becoming an accomplished opera singer.

Linda and Robert adopted Taylor from a Philippine orphanage when he was 10 months old. Two months earlier, a power surge at the orphanage started a fire that caused second- and third-degree burns on his scalp, arms and legs. They brought him home to Sevierville, Tennessee, and visited a Knoxville pediatric hospital for care, where he received compression garments to reduce scarring.

Linda’s father was a Shriner and “Road Runner,” a volunteer who transports children and their families to the nearest Shriners Hospital. He had made many trips to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Cincinnati and had seen the excellence of its family-centered care for children with burns. Linda recalled, “He kept saying that we should take Taylor to Cincinnati Shriners, but I said ‘we have insurance.’”

After a few months, though, Linda and Robert were not satisfied with Taylor’s progress and finally made the trip to Cincinnati. The difference was dramatic. “This whole team came into our room and examined him,” she recalled, remembering that one of their first comments was about the compression garments provided in Tennessee. “They said they didn’t fit properly and were inside out,” she remembered. “We didn’t know; we thought we were doing everything right.”

Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Taylor made multiple trips to Cincinnati for different treatments, including surgical grafts to his leg, and a procedure called a "z-plasty," to release contracting scars. During one visit, his doctor suggested that Taylor pursue something athletic to help stretch the scars that would tighten as he grew – perhaps gymnastics or dancing, he said.

Being from Sevierville – the land of Gatlinburg and Dollywood, Taylor chose dance. “I started with ballet, tap and jazz,” he said. Taylor became so adept at dancing that his first summer job was performing in the musical theater shows at Dollywood. He soon realized that although his dancing skills got him on stage, he much preferred singing. This realization, along with his beautiful voice, led him to Chicago’s Roosevelt University College of Performing Arts where he now majors in opera studies.

The spotlight of the stage has not dimmed Taylor’s humility. He remembers his experience at the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, where he says his and so many lives changed for the better. “Generosity matters; care matters,” he said. “I remember so many kindnesses [at the hospital], from a friendly face at the front desk to waking from surgery with a Harry Potter blanket. Those experiences helped shape who I am today.” Linda is similarly grateful for the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital. “All our needs were met in one place,” she said. “I tell people we went because the care was superior.”

Taylor as a baby with burnsTaylor as a child