GCC Football Player Wins Battle With Leukemia

Roderick Daniels
El Vaquero Staff Writer

On Aug. 29 of last year GCC fullback Stephan Taylor was diagnosed with leukemia, which caused him to miss the entire season, and also taught him what mattered in his life.

“At first, I wasn?t really worried,” said Taylor, 19. “I thought I was going to be in the hospital for only a couple of days, and be practicing the next week.”

It turned out that wasn?t going to be the case. He spent the next month in the hospital.

He underwent chemotherapy and received blood platelets until this past January. He beat the odds. The leukemia is now in remission.

While in the hospital, his mother, Peggy, was there every single day. For the first couple of weeks, the only time she left the hospital was to go get food, or to take a shower, always staying strong for her son. Whenever he was being treated, and having trouble, she was there helping the nurses.

“That was just her love she had for me, to where she couldn?t leave,” Taylor said. “The nurses told my mom that they wished that more parents would be like her. That told me that in my mother, I have something special.”

Taylor didn?t notice how much pain his mother was in. All he saw was what any mother would do for her son.

“To me it looked like it wasn?t nothing,” Taylor said. “Upon talking to my brother (Derric), and other visitors I had at the hospital, they told me they could see the agony on my mom’s face. That hurt me some because I never wanted to see my mom upset or sad, and once I got out of the situation, she was normal again.”

His brother was there almost every day as soon as he got off work. When he had to go back to work, he left.

“My brother brought me a lot of joy,” Taylor said. “He brought the play station, VCR, and movies everyday. He helped me to look at other things, besides what was going on.”

It didn?t really hit Taylor that he had cancer until he and his brother were talking in the hospital about the statistics that one in every two males would have cancer.

“I never really thought I was going to die,” Taylor said. “It was at that moment that I really realized what was going on.”

The illness made him more mature and also made him realize what is really important, Taylor said. He knows how lucky he is, because the mortality rate from leukemia is 50 to 100 percent higher for men than for women of all ages.

“I still feel wierd sometimes,”Taylor said. “So many other people aren?t allowed to go back and do the things they love like I?m able to do.”

Taylor plans to transfer to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He first learned about UNC when he found out about the athletics program – mainly the basketball, and football teams.
Since he wants to go into business, he checked up on the school, and found out that it has one of the best business schools in the country – the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

His major is business administration, with a specialty in accounting. If he doesn?t go as far as he wants in athletics, he plans to become a certified public accountant and work in an accounting firm.

Eventually, he wants to start his own business.
If he doesn?t get into UNC, his next choice is Morehouse University in Atlanta, where his brother graduated in 1990.

For the season, Taylor has one catch for 21 yards, and that came against Citrus College on Saturday.