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Battling leukemia
Starting high school for Screven's Ryan Taylor, 14, on hold
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Ryan Taylor is shown in his hospital room at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta. - photo by Special

      A teenager’s first day walking the halls of Screven County High School as a freshman was delayed for two months, as he underwent an aggressive treatment in his battle with leukemia.
       Fourteen-year-old Ryan Taylor and his family learned of his diagnosis with Acute Myloid Leukemia on Aug. 1 and have been camping out in hospital rooms ever since.
      “It was really hard to deal with at first,” Ryan’s mother Trish McBride said, “but it’s gotten a little easier, and Ryan is beginning to adapt to the rigorous treatment.”
      According to the National Cancer Institute online, acute myeloid leukemia is a fast-growing disease in which too many myeloblasts (immature white blood cells) are found in the bone marrow and blood.
      The leukemia cells can build up in the blood and bone marrow so there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets, according to the website.
       McBride said the disease makes Ryan more susceptible to infection, which is why he will stay at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta until the leukemia is in remission. The doctors’ top concern is infection, she said.
Sometimes leukemia cells form a solid tumor called a granulocytic sarcoma or chloroma.
      This is what formed in Ryan’s back, his mother said. Also, the back tumore caused temporary paralysis in his legs, she said. But, the aggressive treatment to dissolve the tumors with radiation has enabled him to begin walking again. He is currently undergoing physical therapy to regain full use of his legs, McBride said.
      Ryan will continue to receive chemotherapy treatment as direct injections into his spine to ensure the tumors are eradicated, she said. His regular I.V. chemo treatment begins again today, as well.
      McBride described her own mother, Elaine Taylor, of Sylvania, as Ryan’s other mom. She and her husband, John, have been very involved in raising her son, McBride said, and their involvement and support continue through this difficult time. “They are his parents as much as I am,” she said. “Ryan’s doctors and nurses have also been great during this time.”
      While Ryan’s family are aware of the mounting expenses of medical bills, travel, and being out of work, Statesboro and Sylvania banks are working with them to open the Ryan Taylor Fund.
      Anyone who would like to Ryan and his family can make donations at the Heritage Bank of Statesboro, with locations behind Zaxby’s and inside Walmart, or at Queensborough Bank of Sylvania.
      When asked how he feels about the fund in his name, Ryan shared his joy in knowing his mom may receive financial help to provide “games and Subway” for him during his illness.
      Ryan is a Future Farmers of America member and loves computer games. He attended FFA camp this summer, shortly before their discovery of leukemia. 
      Despite the rigors of chemo treatment and physical therapy, Ryan doesn’t seem too upset about missing his first days of high school, McBride said. The hospital has a school program that will work with Screven County High to teach Ryan while he is in the hospital, she said.
      They plan to start working with him soon but the hospital staff first wants to give him a chance to get through his last round of chemo in the coming week.
      Ryan’s mother is hopeful as she wraps her mind around the statistics the doctors gave her that there is an 80 percent chance the cancer will go away and a 60 percent chance it will then return. Although the time frame is unknown, McBride expects Ryan’s treatments to be effective and hopes to take him home in a few months.

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