Hero: Taylor Brooks This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

February 1, 2011
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I was perusing Teen Ink when I came across a short article that caught my attention. As I read, I was instantly caught up by Rebecca Rado’s words. I followed her story like it was my own. Her friend Taylor was admitted to the hospital with a cancerous tumor, and we both knew she had limited time left.

I admire Taylor’s determination. Even though her “skin was pale, and her lips were dry and chapped; her chest was covered in brown scars …,” she continued to go to school and help others. She wanted to be treated like a normal girl, even though she was dying. She made it seem like nothing, though inside she must have been scared. I admire her willingness to keep living life to the fullest.

Near the end, Rebecca was by Taylor’s side. She was scared of Taylor’s cancer, and so was I. Taylor died that night, and at her funeral, we both learned that during her illness, she had purchased video games and laptops for the hospital rooms so other sick children could get their minds off their illness. She threw holiday parties and brought in food for families whose children were going through the same thing she was. I have never known, or read about, someone so dedicated to others in need.

I haven’t been inspired like this in a while. I never imagined what it would be like if my life was ticking away. Now I can see – as though a door opened and gave me a glimpse of what happens inside. Now I can see what I’ve been neglecting to do: help others who are on a battlefield with a disease. I won’t take my good health for granted anymore, and I’ll do my best to help others in their war against ­illness.

So, thank you, Taylor, for allowing me to see what I need to do.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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