Evan Taylor won't let leukemia keep him down

November 10, 2011  |  Posted by Max Reinhart

19-year-old Evan Taylor of Mentor, who has leukemia, is participating in a fundraiser for cancer research.
Around the spring of 2010, Mentor teen Evan Taylor felt he might have been coming down with something.

At 18 years old, Evan was a Mentor High School senior at the time. But instead of the excitement most seniors feel, he was run down and coughing persistently.

A trip to the doctor gave Evan and his family an answer that turned out to be incorrect.

“They thought I had bronchitis,” Evan said. “That’s what they called it and that’s was I was treated for.

“But I wasn’t getting any better " I was getting worse.”

With aches beginning to spring up in different parts of his body, particularly his knees, Evan went in for a blood test. This time the doctors didn’t miss this diagnosis: acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells.

“The way the doctors explained it, they said he was at about a half a tank of blood,” said Dan Rice, Evan’s stepfather.

The high school froze Evan’s grades and allowed him to graduate early, letting him focus on getting better and making it through an intense treatment regimen, which included chemotherapy.

After a number of months, Evan started making strides and treatment went from once a week to once a month. In between treatments, he was and continues to work at Phil-Matic Screw Products in Eastlake and take electrical engineering classes at ITT Tech in Warrensville Heights.

“He’s a strong kid " he never let me see how upset or hurt he was with anything,” said Evan’s mother, Lisa Rice. “He was actually the one reassuring me, letting me know it would be OK. I was a basket case.” Continued...

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Tuesday, Evan volunteered with the Big Shots and Little Stars event at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

It’s the 10th year for the event, which benefits Flashes of Hope, a national nonprofit organization founded and based in Cleveland that provides free photographs to children with cancer and raises money for cancer research.

Young cancer survivors (Little Stars) are paired up with celebrities (Big Shots) and walk the runway together. Evan helped with taking photographs during the event.

The event raised $340,000 in 2010, and Cavaliers officials expect it to raise even more money this year.

With a positive outlook and continued treatment, Evan expects to make a full recovery, though he’ll have to be mindful of possible recurrence for the rest of his life.

For children and young people who may face a similar situation, Evan’s message is simply to never give up.

“It’s true,” he said, “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

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