Nationwide Awards Scholarship to Nationwide Children’s Hospital Patient Champion
Neil Taylor of Dublin receives $10,000 college scholarship following First Shot to Fight Cancer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship
The fact that Neil Taylor stepped up to the first tee at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course and took the ceremonial First Shot to Fight Cancer to open the 2022 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship is remarkable given that three years ago, cancer robbed him of the ability to walk.
Nationwide, a founding partner of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship golf tournament, learned about Neil’s story and wanted to honor his past journey with a gift for his future by surprising/presenting him with a $10,000 college scholarship. The presentation preceded the opening round of play at the Korn Ferry Tour Finals event.
“Getting a $10,000 scholarship was an awesome surprise,” said Neil. “I was so shocked when they handed me a cartoonishly large check. My mom started crying. My parents and I are really grateful to Nationwide for the support.”
On January 11, 2019, Neil was diagnosed with Mixed Phenotype Acute Leukemia - a rare form of leukemia that is a blend of both AML and ALL leukemia. He was admitted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and began chemotherapy to treat his cancer. Over the next two and a half years, Neil was admitted to the hospital 28 times, visited the emergency room 17 times, endured 25 lumbar punctures and ended up in the pediatric intensive care unit twice for sepsis and septic shock. He also experienced rare side effects throughout his treatment and lost the ability to walk while undergoing chemo.
In spite of the many medical challenges he faced, Neil maintained a positive attitude while he relearned to walk and regained his overall strength through intense physical therapy. In June 2021, Neil was able to end chemotherapy a year earlier than expected thanks to new research and information available to his oncologists at Nationwide Children’s. Today, the 16-year-old sophomore attends Worthington Kilbourne High School and is a proud member of the school bands where he plays alto saxophone and synthesizer.
Neil’s personal experience as a pediatric cancer patient has inspired him to start a legacy program called Neil's Meals through the Feel Better Foundation. The program provides food gift cards to help pediatric cancer families by lifting spirits, satisfying chemo cravings, and providing comfort food during hospital stays at Nationwide Children’s.
“Neil’s story is inspiring, and it is why Nationwide remains steadfastly committed to supporting Nationwide Children’s Hospital and families like the Taylors,” said John Carter, president of Nationwide Financial and chairman of the tournament’s host organization, Champions of the Community. “It’s a pleasure for Nationwide to present this scholarship to support Neil’s academic future, but it is also a nod to all the patients and families who have benefited from the life-changing work being done by the doctors, nurses and staff at Nationwide Children’s.”
“We greatly appreciate Nationwide’s ongoing generosity to our patients and families,” said Steve Testa, president, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation. “It’s wonderful to see how far Neil has come and exciting to know that this gift will support his future.”
Tournament proceeds benefit pediatric cancer research and treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Since the tournament’s inception in 2007, more than $19 million has been raised for the hospital.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital remains the cornerstone beneficiary of Nationwide. Through Nationwide’s sponsorships of Memorial Tournament events including Legends Luncheon, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon, the Columbus Crew, and a partnership with The Dale Jr. Foundation, Nationwide sports marketing platforms have helped raise more than $50 million for the hospital since 2011.
For more information about Nationwide Children’s Hospital or to make a donation, visit NationwideChildrens.org.