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Make-A-Wish recipient turns down chance to meet idol Taylor Swift to start pancreas center for kids

Rebecca Taylor started a charity called Rebecca’s Wish in 2018 and it has raised more than $3 million for patients so far.

Make-A-Wish recipient turns down chance to meet idol Taylor Swift to start pancreas center for kids
Cover Image Source: (L) www.rebeccaswish.org (R) Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

A 12-year-old suffering from pancreatitis turned down an offer to meet one of her idols to instead do something that would change many people's lives. Rebecca Taylor and her mom Christyn started Rebecca's Wish to support pediatric pancreatitis patients and their families. This was after the Make-A-Wish Foundation asked the then-12-year-old pancreatitis patient if she wanted to meet the pop superstar. Even though she would have loved to spend time with the Grammy winner, Rebecca had something else in mind. “I wanted to start a pancreas center for other children so they don’t suffer like I did,” she told PEOPLE. The young girl wanted to meet with a medical philanthropist, who could help her start a charity. 


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rebecca’s Wish (@rebeccaswishus)


 

Rebecca struggled with autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy, a rare neurological disorder that attacked her organs, including her pancreas since she was just seven years old. As she struggled with pain while in the hospital, she used to make cards for others to get her mind off the pain. “I was able to get outside of myself and focus on something greater than myself,” she said profoundly. “And that, ironically, helped my own pain.”

Image Source: NSAI Songwriter-Artist of the Decade honoree, Taylor Swift performs onstage during NSAI 2022 Nashville Songwriter Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 20, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)
Image Source: NSAI Songwriter-Artist of the Decade honoree, Taylor Swift performs onstage during NSAI 2022 Nashville Songwriter Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 20, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

Rebecca has spent over 1,300 days in the hospital in the last 13 years, having undergone over 150 surgeries for life-threatening complications of her disease. Now at 20, the sophomore at Texas A&M University in College Station hopes to change the lives of others like her. Since 2018, her charity has raised more than $3 million and provides supportive care to patients and their families and funds research. The charity also hosts a summer camp, Camp Hope, for patients, and trains doctors to treat pancreatitis in kids.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rebecca’s Wish (@rebeccaswishus)


 

Rebecca's mother played a huge role in her life and helped her start the charity. She is “a force,” she shared. “She's the only reason that I'm alive today. She’s taking care of thousands of other children so they can move on and change their lives — and being that mom for all of them.” Her mom is just as proud of her daughter, calling her "an absolute miracle.”



 

And as for meeting her idol, Rebecca said, "If I met Taylor Swift, it would be for one day or an hour. That’s it. But with the pancreas center, I'll work on this until the day I die. It will always be with me."


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rebecca’s Wish (@rebeccaswishus)


 

The inspiring young woman also shared a message on her charity's website saying, "I know what it’s like to be in pain and without hope, and I’m not the only one. If I could take that feeling away from every person in the world, I would. While I don’t have that power, I can help change one life at a time through Rebecca’s Wish. With love and support, suffering children can finally be given a chance at a normal life, one without the hopelessness that pediatric pancreatitis entails. For the first time, some of these children will have someone to relate to and confidence for the future. Something like that is worth pursuing, and together we can end pancreatitis."

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