An author and illustrator of two children’s books, Taylor, 16, picked up writing at 12. Her books not only help the children who read them but also youngsters who are persevering through serious illness.
It all began with a drawing of a weasel created at art camp, according to the Sands Point teen. “My dad hung the picture in his office,” she said. “Someone noticed it and suggested I tell the story of the weasel.”
Taylor spun a positive tale to help readers see the world differently. Inspired by a family member with ulcerative colitis, Taylor wrote A Weasel on an Easel. The main character, Fredda, persists through hardships while pursuing a modeling career. Resilience is her hidden strength.
Taylor donated the proceeds from the book to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. Soon, she began receiving requests from local hospitals to visit and read her book to patients. Taylor’s trip to Cohen Children’s Medical Center motivated her to keep writing, speaking and directing her energy to promote health and healing.
“Walking from department to department and hosting readings, I noticed my story left patients smiling,” Taylor said. “I could tell the words lifted their spirits, and I wanted to do more. Soon after, I decided to write a second book to honor these patients and this hospital.”
Taylor published Jack on a Plaque, about a yak that learns self-acceptance, last year. She named Cohen Children’s the beneficiary and in November donated $10,000 to the Northwell Health Foundation. Cohen Children’s used her donation toward two vein viewers for its Division of Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation.
A comforting solution
“Sick, dehydrated children often have veins that lie flat, making them all but impossible to feel through the skin,” said Donna Newman-Beck, RN, assistant nurse manager at the hospital’s Pediatric Ambulatory Chemotherapy and Transfusion Center. “But vein viewers decrease kids’ pain and anxiety by reducing the need for multiple needle sticks.”
Vein viewers use infrared light to “see” up to a half-inch beneath the skin. This helps nurses locate shallow veins and verify whether they are suitable for a catheter. Young people with chronic blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia, leukemia and platelet disorders benefit from vein viewers because the devices help nurses to quickly and accurately pinpoint the best place to insert a catheter. Before these devices, nurses used their hands to find an appropriate vein and guide a catheter through it, which could be tough for patients.
The hospital uses its new vein viewers for inpatient and outpatient transfusions. The devices are small, portable and simple to use, so they require minimal training and fewer staff members to be present for each patient. The entire process is now simplified, often requiring one skin prick, which patients appreciate.
As for Taylor, she’s already thinking ahead to her next act. “My goal is for all of my books to have a positive message, so readers believe in themselves after reading them,” she said. “I just hope that I’m making people happy and the world a better place.”