In October of 2011 Taylor was a typical Junior at East Ridge High in Clermont.  He played football his Freshman and Sophomore year. He through the shot-put in Track. During his weightlifting class he was squatting 325lbs. He came home from school and told me he tweeked his back and thought he lifted with the wrong technique Over the next 10 days Taylor back pain became worse we took him to the chiropractor, pediatrician, emergency room, walk-in clinic and finally an Orthopedic Surgeon.  The consensus was that Taylor pulled a muscle. They prescribed strong pain killers and muscle relaxers and said to call if his legs start to feel week.  Before we left the Orthopedic Surgeons office and joked and said "So, your not gonna tell me he has a tumor on his spine or anything right?!"  The long time reputable Surgeon laughed and said "Oh No!"


Little did we know that 24hours later Taylor would be unable to walk on his own!


We took his the the Emergency Room  at 10pm on Friday, October 28th from there the hospital in Clermont transported him to Orlando Regional for a MRI. The MRI was done at 6:00am.The Neurosurgeon, Dr. Villalobos was in Taylor's room at 7:00am to tell us Taylor had a mass on his spine and he needed emergency surgery!


Horrified we cried, prayed and kissed him goodbye...


Dr.Villalobos is a very talented surgeon and we are so grateful that he was on call on that Saturday morning.  He was able to remove 98% of the tumor on the T11 and T12 vertebrae which turned out to be Ewing Sarcoma.  The Surgeon did not have very positive news for us though. He said that he would have a 5% chance of ever walking again. 


Our son had Cancer and was Paralyzed!


Our days were brightened when we were transferred to Arnold Palmer Hospital. There we met Dr. Sutphin, pediatric oncologist and Dr. Lesher, physiatrist.  Dr. Sutphin would be Taylor's cancer Doctor and Dr. Lesher would help with his paralysis. 


For the next 9 months Taylor received chemotherapy treatments every 14days. All treatments required hospitals stays of 3 to 5 days.  Taylor also went to Brooks Rehab in December of 2011 twice in between Chemo treatments.  We decided to take Taylor to Jacksonville in the Spring for Proton Beam Radiation. This radiation is only available at a few places in the world. We are lucky enough to only have to travel to Jacksonville.  Taylor and I lived in the Ronald McDonald house for 6weeks of radiation. He also continued his Chemo treatments at Wolfson Children's Hospital during this time. 


Finally, on April 8th he was done with the Radiation and we were home for Easter. 


Taylor finished his Cancer treatments on July 23rd 2012!


Taylor is now CaANCER FREE!! His doctor is very happy with his successful treatment. He will have scans to check to make sure the cancer has not returned every 3months for the next 5 years. 


Taylor astounded us through out his treatment he continued physical therapy and actually became stronger!  He also grew and inch or two!


Today, he is a Senior and will graduate on May 31st! He plans to attend Valencia Community College for the next two years until he can be more independent. Taylor works hard in Physical Therapy and Project Walk Orlando.  He is able to feel in quad muscles and they are almost as strong as they were before the tumor! He walks with a walker as much as he can but for longer durations he is in his wheelchair. 


Taylor plans to be driving by the end of the month and he is really excited!


Through all of this our family has always BELIEVED that the hand of GOD was holding onto us.  This is His plan for Taylor and our family. We have been so blessed with so many prayers from friends and family. Taylor has stayed strong and courageous.  His brothers favorite bible verse has become ours too: Joshua 1:9 One more thing...no one has told us that Taylor will never walk again...his tumor constricted the blood flow. His spinal cord has only a contusion.  Taylor has come so far. We BELIEVE this is only the beginning of a long and health life for him!



Mission Statement:

To extend the OPPORTUNITY for recovery and a better quality of life for FLORIDA residents who have suffered 

a life changing paralyzing Spinal Cord Injury as a result of a catastrophic accident. 

Spinal Cord Injuries

The average newly injured person with a spinal cord injury will incur 1 million dollars in medical costs in their first year. If you are injured at age 25, your estimated lifetime costs will exceed 5 million dollars.  The average yearly medical costs after the first year can average $50,000-$100,000 depending on the level of injury. 

​ There are approximately 17,500 new spinal cord injuries in the US every year. There are over a half million people living with spinal cord injuries (SCI) in the United States.

Every 38 minutes in our country, a person becomes paralyzed. Vehicle accidents are the leading cause, with Falls being the second leading cause.

Sports related injuries are less than 10% of all spinal cord injuries but of the 10%, diving accidents account for 7%. 

There are over 5.6 million people in the US living with some type of Paralysis caused by Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer,

Spinal Cord Injury, Transverse Myelitis and other nervous system disorders. Roughly 1 in 50 people.



© 2012-2020 Tighten The Drag Foundation Inc    

 501(c)3 Non profit Public Charity EIN-46-1427712

CH42547 Division of Consumer Services