An energetic teenager with a positive attitude, you’d never know that Taylin McGill has been to hell and back.
Taylin had to endure 14 brain surgeries before the age of seven.
Just 10 days after she was born, Taylin was diagnosed with salmonella bacterial meningitis – a very rare and serious infection of the brain. This was followed by a diagnosis of ventriculitis, a swelling and inflammation throughout her brain, which resulted in hydrocephalus, an excessive accumulation of cerebral spinal fluid in the brain.
These early infections caused scars within her brain’s ventricles — scarring that restricted the normal flow of cerebral spinal fluid in Taylin’s brain — and caused a life-threatening situation requiring shunt surgery to relieve the pressure.
Taylin’s early childhood was marked by very long, severe seizures, and multiple surgeries.
At three years old, Taylin was left in a coma-like state after an emergency medical situation. She was temporarily mute, had impairment in her left eye, and was unable to use the left side of her body for several months. She suffered permanent short-term memory loss and worked hard with specialists to re-learn how to walk, talk, and eat again.
But Taylin’s story is not one of sadness, it’s one of resilience.
Her dad, Sean, recalls her determination after recovering from one of her surgeries at BC Children’s Hospital.
After Sean whispered: “Daddy wishes I could take this all away from you,” Taylin replied: “No Daddy, you don’t want this. This is mine, I never want you to have all of these brain surgeries.
“I can do it.”
She was right.
Today, Taylin’s positivity doesn’t waver. The 15-year-old sings in a choir and takes gymnastics. She swims every day in warm weather, snorkels with her family and plays softball with a Special Olympics team.
Taylin is outgoing, once giving a speech at the Canucks’ Dice and Ice fundraiser, telling the players on hand: “I’ve had 14 brain surgeries, five lumbar punctures, years of seizures up to 90 minutes long, and you guys think you’re tough?”
“The room erupted,” said Taylin’s mom Erin.
“She reminds us every day that life is precious and that we need to love deeply and feel gratitude, as it can be taken from us in the blink of an eye,” she added. “We treat her like anyone else in the family and have to remind ourselves just how far she’s come.”
It’s why Taylin was the perfect choice as Air Canada’s Mark Maker — someone who has made a positive impact on their environment and displays strong Canadian values — to receive a once in a lifetime Fan Flight experience.
A big Canucks fan, Taylin was surprised at her Vancouver home earlier this season with a recorded message by Brock Boeser, which was presented to her by team mascot Fin.
Taylin’s family was gifted four tickets to the Canucks’ game on November 17 against the Montreal Canadiens. During a stoppage in play, Taylin’s story was aired on the jumbotron before Air Canada surprised her family with a free trip to San Jose to see the Canucks play this weekend.
After the game, Taylin got to meet Boeser — her favourite player — outside the Canucks’ dressing room.
Taylin was chosen for her courage, resilience, joyful spirit, and Canucks fandom.