Taylor Adkins has a heart for organ donation and a heart of gold for that matter. Her heart organ happens to be two years older than she, thanks to a miraculous gift when she was just two months old. Taylor’s parents, Tommy and Teresa, brought home a seemingly perfect baby girl in April of 1993. However, when Taylor was about a week and a half old, she turned blue during a routine sponge bath. When the condition remained, the couple went from their family doctor to Children’s Hospital of Knoxville and later to Vanderbilt. This is where they discovered young Taylor had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome which is a rare form of congenital heart disease.
Within six weeks Taylor had already gone onto the transplant list and received her new heart. This was an amazing miracle she and her family do not take for granted. They continually remember that a two-year old life was mourned while they received a blessing and “an opportunity to live out that other person’s life.” Taylor states.
Taylor Adkins is not a pale faced, fragile invalid. She rarely has hospital stays now and only takes three medications twice a day. Although daycare was not an option for the toddler Taylor due to the increased chance of infections as a child and young teen, she did not sit at the window, watching other kids play. She fights and roughhouses, albeit somewhat cautiously, with her older sister Mallory and younger brother Caleb. She has been a cheerleader and graduated on May 27 from Jellico High School. Taylor, who recently turned eighteen is personable, upbeat, laughs easily, likes Lady Gaga, and loved everything about her school. She says very few activities were denied her because of her special heart. An amazing coach Ms. Davenport, allowed an eager Taylor to cheer when some coaches might not have. Taylor does admit she isn’t allowed to tumble or do gymnastics of any kind, as a safety precaution.
Taylor is proud of her difference, is grateful for her existence, and stands behind her scars which, though now almost invisible to a stranger, for many years, drew remarks from classmates and the curious. Taylor gladly explains the true origin of her scars, and tells naysayers her wrist scars are definitely not from self-mutilation but from the life-saving IVs along the way. Taylor says, “I see the world different from everybody else. I am a miracle. I have something you don’t.” She humbly wakes up every morning and thinks, “Hallelujah! I’m alive.”
Teresa Adkins said she believes seven different people’s lives were saved through the generosity of one broken hearted family. She and Taylor agree on the urgency and importance of organ donation. Teresa said, “When you stop and think of somebody that’s blind and they’ve never seen, being able to see from your eyes, that’s amazing.” April, the month of Taylor’s birth, just happens to be National Donate Life Month. For more information on how to become an organ or tissue donor check out Tennessee Donor Services @ donatelifetn.org