SAN ANTONIO - A teen with a rare disease is making her dream a reality by helping other children who are battling the same disease.
Rebecca Taylor spent most of her childhood in hospitals battling an unknown disease that has resulted in more than 65 anesthetic procedures and surgeries, including a lifesaving transplant.
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"On a normal day, I wake up and decide whether I feel OK to go to school,” Taylor said. "I ride the elevator with my friend. A lot of kids don't understand that because I look pretty normal on the outside."
Taylor had the lifesaving transplant in 2014.
"She had five organs removed throughout her body in order to provide a life necessitating islet cell transplant into the liver. So her liver is actually working as a super organ right now,” her mother, Christyn Taylor, said.
Taylor’s life changed when the Make-A-Wish Foundation contacted her to grant her a wish. She asked to help other children who suffered from pancreatitis.
"Rebecca always said what makes her happy when she's in pain is not the pain medication, it was instead helping other people,” her mother said.
With the support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the organization will launch Rebecca’s Wish: Providing Hope for Pediatric Pancreatitis, a charitable organization.
"They can go to one hospital who knows what to do and knows how to treat them without them having to move state to state,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s story inspired local physician Sandeep Patel, a gastroenterologist. He is now spearheading the development of a comprehensive pediatric pancreatitis practice in San Antonio.
"This entity will shed light, if nothing more than be an educational resource for parents and children on where to get help," Patel said.
Community members will gather at 7 p.m Friday to grant Rebecca’s wish through a fundraising dinner at Valero Headquarters.
The goal of the Rebecca's Wish Foundation is to provide hope for pediatric pancreatitis through inpatient/outpatient care, supportive services and research and development into the disease. For more information, visit www.atxgive.org/rebecca.
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