Featured MassKicker

Pat Taylor

Be kind to yourself and keep chasing your personal rainbow!

Pat Taylor is a Canadian mAss Kicker on a mission!  Pat is the founder of Chasing Rainbows Young Adult Cancer Advocacy and a producer at Chasing Rainbows Productions.  She was a Show manager at Storyeum in Vancouver from 2003-2006.  From 1987 to 2003 she was a producer at Eureka Theater Company.  We met her a few years ago at a conference in Austin, Texas and still keep in touch via social media. We were fortunate to find some precious time in her schedule to ask her a some questions.

mK:  Thanks for doing this Pat… First question… What is your relationship to tumors/cancer?
PT:   Closer than some; further than others.

mK:  Let’s ask you this… How did you get stated in Cancer Advocacy?
PT:  I became a cancer awareness advocate when my daughter Sara was diagnosed at age 23 with desmoplastic small round blue cell tumour (sarcoma) back in 1997.  At that time there were very few support resources that addressed the specific issues young adults with cancer face – from the day of diagnosis, through treatment, long term effects and for some, up to end-of-life.  Sara wanted to change that.  So she agreed to document her own cancer journey in a film called “Sara’s Story”.

Out of that film came “Chasing Rainbows Young Adults Living With Cancer“. Before she died in 2000, Sara asked me to “distribute these film resources, across Canada, the USA and, Mom, if you have time, Europe.”  And that is what I have been doing ever since. Chasing Rainbows Young Adult Cancer Advocacy is an initiative developed by me which is dedicated to discovering and distributing multi-media support resources for young adults living with cancer, as well as for their caregivers, family, friends and medical professionals.

mK: Cool.  What motivates you?
PT:  The desire to eradicate the word “isolation” out of the young adult cancer experience for young adults and their caregivers continues to motivate me.

mK: Isolation is a BIG ISSUE!  Who is your personal hero or are your heroes?
PT:   A “hero” to me is someone who lives within and beyond their own expectations.

mK: What makes you laugh, cry, angry?

PT:  My husband Lee makes me laugh when he backs out of bed making the sound of a truck backing up… beep, beep, beep!

I cry for Sara and all the other AYAs with cancer who die before we are ready to let them go.

I get angry when politics get in the way of compassion.

mK:  What would you say is the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?

PT:   Moving to a ranch in the Canadian wilderness with my husband and two young daughters to explore living off the grid – growing and storing our own food, learning how to drive a team of Percherons and wagon, and home schooling our children.

mK:  WOW!  Based on what you’ve observed, what is the toughest challenge a survivor faces?

PT:  Emotional, physical and spiritual isolation.

mK: What is your guilty pleasure?

PT: Dark chocolate with garden fresh raspberries

mK:   Dark chocolate has many benefits and raspberries are fruit, thus you shouldn’t feel guilt.  If you could be any living person for a day, who would it be and why?  What would you do?

PT:  I like people who are committed to helping others discover their personal rainbow.  I believe in commitment and miracles.  I would love to be a miracle maker!

mK: Miracles happen all the time. Sometimes you just need to notice them. What are you up to now?

PT:  5’7”…hee, hee!  I am checking out what  AYA cancer related conferences I will attend in 2015, blogging for the Huffington Post and, as the Section Editor for the Caregiver’s Page for the online publication Cancer Knowledge Network, I am on the look out for the next person willing to share their story with our CKN readers.

mK: Hee hee… Any advice for people or loved ones that get daunting diagnoses?

PTWeep, rage and forgive yourself.  It is not your fault.

mK: Tell us something about yourself that people probably didn’t know… anything.

PT:  I was a teen model, head cheerleader in high school, and married a rock and roll bass player!

mK: Any parting words for all the mAss Kickers?

PT Be kind to yourself and keep chasing your personal rainbow!

Pat Taylor:  Teen model, Cheerleader, Rock band groupie, Dark Chocolate addict, “off the grid” philanderer, dedicated mom, rainbow chaser, experienced AYA cancer advocate, and all around sweet lady!  Check out Chasing Rainbows.  We look forward to seeing you at the next conference.

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