Neil Taylor named 2022 Nicklaus Youth Spirit Award winner
Taylor, family guests of honor at the 2022 Legends Luncheon, presented by Nationwide
After being sick for several weeks with what was thought to be a stubborn virus,
Neil Taylor was diagnosed with Mixed Phenotype Acute Leukemia on Jan. 11, 2019.
This diagnosis, a rare type of leukemia, was devastating to Neil and his family.
“I was shocked that something like this could happen to my healthy boy - a boy who had just played basketball and had been running around with friends days before,” said Kelly, Neil’s mom.
Neil’s father, Benton, remembers feeling despair and anxiety that this disease was threatening the most precious thing in their lives, but he had hope that Neil's strength and the best doctors and nurses would help him through this challenge.
Throughout his treatment, Neil remained positive, although he faced several rare side effects, including kidney and GI complications, red man syndrome, and he inexplicably lost the ability to walk early on in his fight.
Neil is in maintenance now and he has started participating in “normal” activities again, but will continue treatment for a couple more years. He has worked hard to regain mobility and get healthy again, all while keeping his sense of humor.
Neil’s strong, driving spirit in overcoming obstacles and his unwavering optimistic outlook is why he was honored with this year’s Nicklaus Youth Spirit Award.
Jack and Barbara Nicklaus presented the award to Neil at the 12th annual Nationwide Children’s Hospital Legends Luncheon presented by Nationwide. This event shines a bright light on Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and Nationwide Children’s Hospital alliance.
“Hearing first-hand accounts of children, like Neil, and their families benefitting from the care at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is what fuels our commitment to this partnership,” said Ramon Jones, Nationwide Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s about much more than supporting a cause – it’s about providing necessary care that ultimately provides children the bright, healthy future they deserve.”
This year the event raised $1.3 million for the alliance, bringing the 12-year total to more than $12 million. All proceeds of the Legends Luncheon directly benefit the young patients and families that Nationwide Children’s compassionately serves each day.