The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

October 10, 2013

Teen cancer survivor's mural a picture of hope


“(Painting) was something that was an escape for me for when I was here,” he said, staring at the mural now gracing the hospital Infusion Center. “Being able to do it right here would just help these kids to be able to escape from the pain and everything.”

In the early days of his diagnosis, Evan found relief in art.

Soon after beginning treatment, the former Ransom Middle School football player was no longer able to play sports, so he took up painting lessons to occupy himself. In 2008, through Make-A-Wish, he even received pointers from his artistic idol Guy Harvey. But shortly after, he said he lost his desire to paint, that is, until June of this year.

“My mom asked me if I would like to do one for Nemours (Children’s Clinic), and I thought it was a great idea because I’ve been here so many times,” he said.

Evan and his mother, Dalia Taylor, share a particularly strong bond. They are both cancer survivors.

On June 15, 2012, Dalia, 53, learned she had breast cancer. But the shock over her own diagnosis paled in comparison to her reaction to Evan’s, she said. Six years later, the memory still brings tears to her eyes.

“It was the hardest day of my life,” she said. “When you’re told your child has cancer, your whole world falls apart. You’re grasping for air and you’re just trying to hold onto every minute, every day.”

The support of friends and a strong faith in God got the family through it, Evan and Dalia Taylor said. Evan’s cancer went into remission about a year ago, and Dalia completed her last round of cancer treatment in April.

On a recent afternoon, the two, wearing gold shirts and Childhood Cancer Awareness buttons, said their aim now is to offer support and encouragement to other families.

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