Grand Blanc girl thrives 10 years after heart transplant
Allison Bush | The Flint Journal
GRAND BLANC, Michigan — For most kids, the 11th birthday just disappears in the blur of the “tween” years. But for Grand Blanc resident Taylor Price, turning 11 means something much more important — it’s her 10th year with her new heart.
Taylor contracted a virus that attacked her heart when she was a baby, and she received a heart transplant 24 hours after being placed on the transplant list when she was just 2 years old.
“She doesn’t remember being sick, obviously,” said Taylor’s aunt, Linda Bennett. “She’s lucky that she’s been able to lead a fairly normal life.”
In May, her family threw a huge party celebrating the beginning of Taylor’s 10th year with her new heart.
“It was a lot of fun,” Taylor said on Thursday, as she decorated thank-you cards with her younger brother, Tyler. “We played games and drew with chalk; I loved that.”
The party was held on May 22, the anniversary of Taylor’s transplant, and allowed community members to celebrate and raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network at the same time.
“It started off with us just saying, ‘Hey, she’s had a good year,’ and then we wanted just family, but the more and more people that heard about it, the more it snowballed, and turned into a full-out event,” said her father, George Price.
Fifteen people signed up to be organ donors at the party, and guests donated more than $400 for the Children’s Miracle Network, Bennett said.
“We want to do anything we can to help other kids like Taylor,” she said.
Although Taylor has to take medication twice a day and be careful about overexposure in the sun, she is able to enjoy her summers just like any other kid, her dad said.
“She loves swimming and tennis. She’s really very active,” he said.
She also has to have a heart biopsy each May — the results of the most recent one were wonderful, according to George Price — and for the most part, has lived a very healthy life.
“She’s on medication that suppresses her immune system, so she has to be careful about being sick,” he said. “But she’s very careful —she’s cautious about who she is around, and makes sure to wash her hands a lot.”
To celebrate Taylor’s 10th year with her new heart, her family decided they want to reach out to the community in a new way.
Taylor attended a support group meeting at Hurley Medical Center with her aunt and her father in May, where they talked to other people — kids and adults — who had either received or donated organs.
“Speaking at the support group really helped her understand what a gift she has really got,” George Price said. “The other members were able to look at her, and go ‘Wow,’ and it was great for them to see how successful she’s been years after the transplant. We really want to do more reaching out that way.”
Taylor and her family plan to speak at another support group in August, and Taylor said she’s looking forward to the experience.
“I was a little nervous, but it was fun. I want to do it again,” she said.
Taylor will be a sixth-grader at Grand Blanc West Middle School this fall, and she said she is really looking forward to the school year.
“Most of my friends will be there, so I’m not really scared,” she said. “I’m pretty excited.”