© Heather Taweel/The Guardian
Eight-year-old Taylor Durling, right, was in charge of judging Christmas Tree Lane on Great George Street in Charlottetown this year for the P.E.I. branch of the Children’s Wish Foundation. Businesses donate money to the foundation and decorate each tree. Taylor and her six-year-old sister, Brooklyn, came across the popular "Minions" movie characters on this one.
Taylor Durling was all focus as she walked up and down Christmas Tree Lane earlier this holiday season.
The eight-year-old Charlottetown girl considered her task to be extremely important; it was her job to pick the best one.
Every year, the P.E.I. branch of the Children’s Wish Foundation teams up with businesses in the greater Charlottetown area to decorate and light up Great George Street to create some holiday cheer.
With her Santa hat on, a clipboard in one hand and a steaming cup of hot chocolate in the other and her teddy bear Roary tucked under one arm, little Taylor went to work.
Roary is the wish foundation’s mascot, symbolizing courage and hope for a better future.
Each wish child gets one.
Taylor was diagnosed in 2013 with IgA nephropathy, a kidney disease. She visits the IWK Health Centre in Halifax every three months.
“What’s complicating her case right now is she has severe asthma so those two diseases are fighting against each other, unfortunately,’’ says her mother, Krista Savidant. “It’s been a long road and we’re taking it one day at a time.’’
Anyone can refer a child for a wish — parents, grandparents, classmates, volunteers, business groups, siblings, nurses, doctors . . . the list goes on.
Wishes are granted to children between three and 17 who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
Taylor’s wish is to swim with dolphins so the wish foundation is sending the family to Hawaii next April to do just that, on her ninth birthday.
“I’m excited about swimming with dolphins,’’ Taylor says, barely taking her focus off the Christmas trees. “All I want for Christmas is a stuffed dolphin.’’
Oh, and an Elsa doll from the movie Frozen.
Savidant said it’s been a breath of fresh air.
“This is just amazing for us, just incredible,’’ mom says. “It allows you to focus on something other than blood work and worry that she’s going to get sick because she’s immune suppressed. She’s more susceptible to everything.
“With Roary, ever since they gave her that stuffed animal he’s become a part of her life. She has to dress him, clothe him, put him to bed. It gives her a focus other than taking meds every day or being worried about this or that. It allows her to be a kid, again.’’