Albertsons shopping center stages car wash on Sunday for 10-year-old cancer patient to ride in Youth National Championships
When Ramona resident Taylor Hay received the diagnosis last year that she had cancer, neither she nor her family knew if she would ever be able to ride her beloved horses again. Through extensive chemotherapy, hair and weight loss, 11 hospitalizations, fatigue, nausea and all of the other multitude of symptoms cancer patients have to endure, the thought of once again being in the horse show ring gave the feisty 10-year-old the determination to fight.
And fight she did.
While she had missed all of the major horse show events of the year because of her treatments and hospitalizations, one show remained at the end of the year and she was determined to be in it. Bald and weak, she tenaciously insisted to her mother, Debbie, that she wanted to start riding again. Each day she’d climb on her horse, ride for a few minutes, excuse herself to go in the house to throw up in the house and then get back on again.
And each day she grew stronger.
When October came, she declared she wanted to try showing again. It was hard, but she was able to qualify for Regionals.
The 2009 Region 1 Championships were held at the end of May in Del Mar, where Taylor proved that her continued hard work had paid off. She earned the third highest score of the show overall, including trainers, and winning a Regional Championship in Intro Dressage ATR, showing against youth and adults alike. She then went on to earn an additional Regional Reserve Championship title along with three Regional Top Fives, earning her a spot at the 2009 Arabian Youth National show held in Albuquerque, N.M., in July.
Knowing the trip would be long and expensive, Taylor worked to raise the funds to pay for her entries herself, but the costs of the trip itself still loomed ahead. Knowing that they would need help to make their daughter’s dream a reality, the Hays turned to local businesses to help.
“I called Bill Strange, the manager of Albertsons, and asked if they would be willing to allow us to do a benefit car wash in the parking lot of their facility,” said Debbie Britt-Hay, Taylor’s mother. “He immediately agreed, but cautioned that we’d have to get approval from the property manager before we could move forward. When I first called the property management company, they refused because they had recently spent a considerable amount of money resurfacing the parking lot, but, when they found out what we were trying to accomplish, they wholeheartedly agreed to help.
“Janice Schuerman at Hill Management Services Inc. was awesome and she even contacted other merchants at the center and garnered their support. It was so touching the way they all rallied around Taylor to lend their support.” Britt-Hay said.
The car wash will be held on Sunday, June 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the bank end of the Albertsons shopping center, and all proceeds will go toward making Taylor’s wish to attend the Youth National Championships a reality.
In addition to the car wash, the shopping center’s vendors have agreed to offer a variety of discounts to all people making a contribution to the car wash. A flyer will be handed out for patrons to redeem their discounts. Any volunteers to help make the car wash run smoothly will also be welcomed with open arms.
“Taylor has been named the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s 2009 Girl of the Year and Kohl’s 2009 Poway Kids Care Award recipient for her work in raising funds for other children stricken with cancer,” said Britt-Hay. “We’re hoping that we can do something to make her dream a reality as well. With all the amazing people we’ve encountered since moving to Ramona, I have no doubt that, with their help, we will succeed.”
Smiling, Britt-Hay added, “she’s a great kid and she deserves this chance.”
Donations may also be sent to The Taylor Hay Fund, P.O. Box 2324, Ramona, CA 92065.
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