On May 11, the 10th and final “RACE 2 CURE PH – Taylor Caffrey Memorial 5K Run/Walk” took place in Anaheim Hills, Calif., organized by Taylor’s parents, Shari and Michael Caffrey.
“In a brief 4 ½ years, Taylor brought so much to our lives and touched so many people,” says Shari. Taylor was fondly known to many as “Tay,” as well as “Tator-Tot,” “Taylor-Bean,” “Taylor-Made” and “Taylor the Investigator.” Her favorite song was from the movie “Shrek the Third,” titled “Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Again)” with the lyrics “I just want to thank you for letting me be myself.” And Taylor was herself in every possible way. She was a very happy, smart, funny, beautiful little girl who loved her family more than anything. She enjoyed adventures in the family RV, digging in the dirt in the desert sun or on the beach at the river, riding her bike, eating Rice Krispies Treats™, swinging in the backyard, drawing, learning and being with her twin sister.
“Taylor came into this world with her twin sister, Brooke, ten weeks early, weighing only 1 ½ pounds. She had three surgeries, one of which was open heart surgery to close a large hole in her heart. She defied all the odds against her and came home at 4 ½ months old, weighing only 4 pounds. She was a miracle baby!
“She was small for her age but was otherwise perfect in every way. Needless to say, we were totally shocked and devastated when Taylor was diagnosed with the terminal illness of pulmonary hypertension a few months after she turned 3 years old,” recalls Shari.
After trying every type of oral medication available and a central line, Taylor passed away on Sept. 19, 2009. The Caffrey family organized fundraising efforts via TaylorsWish.org to honor her memory by helping raise awareness and funds for research to find a cure for PH.
“Our wish and Taylor’s Wish is for other families not to have to go through the pain of losing a loved one to PH. This wish can become a reality if huge strides continue to be made in research and a cure is ultimately found,” says Shari.
The goal of Taylor’s Wish is described on the event website: “Beyond crossing the finish line, the gathering of family and friends, reminiscing about Taylor and the tremendous community spirit, lies the knowledge that we are participating for a purpose: to raise enough money to move forward in the fight against pulmonary hypertension. The dollars you raise through your ingenuity and hard work are the very lifeblood of finding a cure so others don’t have to go through this pain.”
Together with friends, family and health care teams, the RACE 2 CURE PH raised more than $300,000 to advance research for PH since its inception in 2009. PHA thanks the Caffrey family and all fundraisers, donors, and supporters to the RACE 2 CURE PH. Your collective efforts in the last decade are helping us move toward a world without PH.
Shari Caffrey (far right) with participants in the RACE 2 CURE PH – Taylor Caffrey Memorial 5K Run/Walk.