WILKES-BARRE — Hundreds packed Chacko’s Family Bowling Center on Sunday to support 17-year-old Taylor Thoryk, who is battling a rare form of cancer.
“Bowl-4-Tay” was organized by Taylor’s soccer coaches, Mike Davitt and Deb Stevens of Wyoming Valley West, where the Swoyersville teen is a junior.
Taylor, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in October, undergoes aggressive treatment at the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital at Geisinger in Danville three to four weeks at a time, taking a break in between for about a week.
When she comes home between treatments, her family and friends try to make her life as normal as possible, said her 14-year-old sister, Lauren.
“She gets to be a kid,” she said. “We watch movies and listen to music.”
Gavyn Giza, 17, of Larksville, one of Taylor’s best friends, also shares in the girl time when Taylor’s home. “We paint our nails and talk about everything that’s going on,” she said.
Taylor’s parents, Bill and Julie, take turns visiting Taylor at the hospital.
“It’s been hectic,” said Bill, who’s taken considerable time off of work to spend weekdays with Taylor while Julie and Lauren travel to Danville on the weekends.
“Considering everything she’s going through, she’s doing incredibly,” said Julie. “She’s keeping her spirits up and she smiles every day.”
Taylor’s positive outlook and infectious smile have made such an impact on not only her family and many friends, but her nurses as well. Despite her grueling treatments, Taylor still has a great attitude, making fellow patients and hospital staff forget their own troubles.
“She definitely has her struggles, but you’d never know,” said Kat Hagerty, one of Taylor’s nurses at Geisinger. She and two other nurses on Taylor’s floor; Kaitlin Meier and Katie Welsh, work every other weekend, and were happy they had the weekend off so they could attend the fundraiser.
“She’s a real trooper,” said Meier. “She’s always laughing and she’s fun to be around. She makes our job fun.” Welsh echoed the sentiment. “We wanted to be here to support her because we love her.”
Information box: Donations to the Taylor Thoryk Foundation can be made at First Keystone Bank. Another fundraiser for Taylor will be held on Friday, March 7th at the Pierce Street Deli, Kingston, from 6-9 pm.