New York, NY - January 26, 2014 - The New York Rangers, through the Garden of Dreams Foundation, have chosen twelve year old Taylor Ryan of East Islip as their “Hero” at the Stadium Series game on Sunday, January 26. Taylor suffers from Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, a rare debilitating neurodegenerative disease which effects 1 in 200,000 children.
Legislation sponsored last year by Legislator Tom Cilmi declared January 26 Histiocytosis Day in Suffolk County.
Taylor has been undergoing chemotherapy since 2010 for treatment of her Histiocytosis. During one of her hospital visits in 2010 former NY Ranger Adam Graves visited Cohen’s Children’s Hospital to meet with the kids. Taylor and Adam hit it off; he got a smile out of her that day when no one else could. Since that day, Taylor and her family have become a big part of the Garden of Dreams Foundation at Madison Square Garden. Through the Garden of Dreams she has had the opportunity to meet the NY Rangers and become friends with many of the players.
Brian Boyle of the New York Rangers said, “Taylor has become part of the Rangers family. Her strength and courage is an inspiration to us all." Legislator Tom Cilmi said, “There is something really special about a young girl like Taylor who is so determined to overcome such an insidious disease, and who does so with such grace and good cheer. From the moment I met her, I was inspired. I am grateful to the Rangers organization not only for recognizing Taylor as their hero, but for continuing to be a source of energy and joy for Taylor and her family.”
Taylor said, “I know when I am not feeling good the guys on the team are thinking of me. Cally and Girardi told me one time when I saw them before chemo that they would be thinking of me that week. I watch all the games and they won two games that week! I love the guys because they make me laugh a lot when I see them and make everything else go away. I am really excited for the game on Sunday and happy that they are helping me tell people about Histio.”
Taylor has a lesion on her brain from the histiocytosis, and suffers from a number of related symptoms including diabetes insipidus, seizures, weakness on one side of her body, blurred vision, headaches and some difficulty with comprehension. She has gone through years of chemotherapy, numerous surgeries and a variety of other procedures.
Teresa Ryan, Taylor’s mother said, “We truly feel blessed to have become a part of the Garden of Dreams and the NY Rangers family. They have done more for Taylor and our family than I can say. Dealing with a disease like this and going through chemotherapy sometimes gets overwhelming for Taylor. When she starts to feel down or sick from the chemo I know that it will just take one text, phone call or joke from one of the guys and it boosts her up like nothing else. We are very grateful to the NHL and the NY Rangers for honoring Taylor as their “hero” for this game and for giving us this opportunity to raise awareness at the Stadium Series game on January 26.”