Wish comes true for Ramona girl
[NPI Float="left"]/Media/3/jpg/2009/12/55a75590-c4b6-b12f-d8e009ddef8a9e3a.jpg[/NPI] An extraordinary 11-year-old girl from Ramona will have her wish come true this weekend when she walks the red carpet in New York City at the premiere of a movie in which she is featured.
Taylor Hay’s fame in town was first based on her skills as an equestrian, singer, actor and dancer. Then in March 2008, she was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of pediatric lymphoma and she became known for the fundraisers for her Believe in Taylor Foundation, which provides financial and emotional support to families stricken with pediatric cancer.
In June 2008, Taylor asked the Make-a-Wish Foundation to give her an experience that had something to do with acting. Her first hope was to be in the new Harry Potter movie.
“When that didn’t happen, they asked her if she wanted to go onto a movie set, or meet Miley Cyrus or take a cruise, but she wanted to do something that she could be involved in,” said her mother, Debbie Britt-Hay. “Finally, a year later, in June 2009, we got a call.
“Macy’s was expanding its Believe campaign to support the Make-a-Wish Foundation and was planning a new animated holiday special of the classic old story, ‘Yes, Virginia.’ They wanted to fly Taylor to New York City to do a voice-over for one of the characters.”
Taylor decided that this was “the perfect choice,” so in August she and her mother headed for the Big Apple.
“At first, she was only going to have two lines, but when they realized her background and what she has done, her role was expanded to two pages,” Britt-Hay said. “The writer was right there in the sound studio and kept throwing her lines as we went.
“They also decided to make the animated character look like her and named her Taylor, who is Virginia’s best friend.”
The feature is based on the true story of 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, who wrote the New York Sun in 1897, asking if Santa really existed. The editorial response contained the now-famous line, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
The new animated version will air on CBS-TV on Dec. 11. But before that, Taylor will be walking the red carpet at the East Coast premiere on Dec. 5 in New York City with voice-over co-stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Neil Patrick Harris and Alfred Molina. Then she will walk the red carpet again at the West Cost premiere on Dec. 7 at the Hotel Del Coronado.
She will also appear on The Early Show on CBS-TV on Dec. 4.
“I’m really excited to see how it all turned out,” Taylor said. “And I can’t wait to see all the fabulous people I met in New York and to meet Jennifer Love Hewitt.”
Taylor is also looking forward to meeting Beatrice Miller, the girl who did the voice-overs for Virginia.
“We’ve been texting back and forth,” Taylor said. “We have so much in common. We’re only three months apart in age and she loves horses, too.”
Healthwise, Taylor is four months away from ending two years of exhausting chemotherapy treatments, and recent scans have shown there are no more active cancer nodes, Britt-Hay said.
“After that, we will wait and see and they will continue to monitor her, but we are very optimistic,” she added. “They caught it early. Her prognosis is very good and she’s a tough kid. In fact, she’s amazing.”
Although Taylor has endured 11 hospitalizations, hair and weight loss, fatigue, nausea and other accompanying symptoms, she’s kept fighting, especially when it comes to riding her beloved horses. Almost too weak and sick to ride, she persevered, with a goal of qualifying for the 2009 Arabian Youth National Show in Albuquerque, N.M., last July.
She not only qualified, but finished a very close third in her dressage class, beating 25 other young riders.
She was also honored this year with a $1,000 Kohl’s Kids Who Care scholarship for the work done by her foundation.
Although she has missed many days of school, she is in the seventh grade at Ramona Community School and “is almost two years ahead of herself” in this Montessori program, Britt-Hay said.
“That’s good because she wants to be a pediatric neurosurgeon when she grows up,” her mother said, “So she’s going to need all the extra time she can find.”
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