Every foundation must start somewhere. For the Live4Tay foundation it was through Taylor Filorimo. In 2009 Taylor was diagnosed with Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Papillary Type 2, a form of cancer which is most commonly found in adult males over the age of 50. Taylor holds the record for being the youngest patient diagnosed with the disease. By the time Taylor passed away in 2012, the Live4Tay foundation, then called Play4Tay, had already held three softball tournaments in order to help Taylor and her family. The foundation not only helped Taylor, however, but also helped other families who were in situations similar to hers.
“The Live4Tay foundation will be holding its eighth annual softball tournament this Labor Day weekend,” said Karen Clark, who knew Taylor personally and helped to get the foundation started.
The tournament will be held at every available field in Rutherford County. The foundation is expecting more than 100 teams from across the country to participate in the tournament; one team will even travel from California to participate.
According to Clark, when Taylor was sick her life was never about her being sick, and she was always trying to help other families. Taylor noticed how most people didn’t associate the golden ribbon with childhood cancer and wanted to change that. She also noticed just how big of an issue the finances could be for the families. Clark said she believes this was because Taylor was “smart beyond her years.”
“The main reason we do what we do is to help the families financially to supplement their income, especially when they have to get treatment out of state,” Clark said.
The foundation doesn’t stick to just a softball tournament anymore, though. Already this year the foundation held its 4th annual Golf Tournament and the 3rd annual Ride 4 Tay Poker Run on May 20 and June 10, respectively. Including the softball tournament, eight events are planned throughout the rest of the year. They will hold a wine tasting benefit at the Alley on Main on Monday, July 10.
“We’re always open to trying new things and reaching new people that we haven’t talked to before,” Clark said.
Since its inception, the program has raised around $190,000 and has assisted 108 families; Live4Tay was able to help 40 families in 2016. The charity has no paid positions, and everyone who is there does it to help out.
Even though Taylor passed away in 2012, the foundation still likes to keep Taylor’s family in the know as to what is going on.
“We value their opinion of where the program is going. It’s still nice to be able to pencil them in and ensure that we are still staying in line with what they want,” Clark said.
One of the biggest concerns after Taylor died, according to Clark, was how they could ensure that the kids who were playing in the tournaments didn’t forget the reason they were playing.
“How do we let these kids have fun, but not forget why they are there and for what reason they are playing?” said Clark, relaying the question the organizers asked themselves.
Their answer was to make banners that had Taylor’s picture on them and told her story. This becomes especially important as most of the girls who played with Taylor personally have started to grow up, and a new younger generation begins to come up.
To learn more about the program and those whose lives it has affected, to apply for assistance, or to learn more about upcoming fundraising events, visit live4tay.org.