After son's tragedy, local teacher begins to take back her life

Laura Taylor with her sons Jeremy and Nik. Photo provided by Laura Taylor

Laura Taylor with her sons Jeremy and Nik. Photo provided by Laura Taylor

A Downey teacher is in the last stretch of her preparation for the Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer.

For Griffiths Middle School music teacher Laura Taylor, 2017 has been “the year for doing different goals.”

This year, she heads into her 32nd year of teaching. It’s also her first real opportunity to take her life back after her son was involved in a devastating accident that left him with a major brain injury, which put him in a coma for several months. She likens his injury to shaken baby syndrome.

“My son was in a car accident seven years ago this summer, and so basically for seven years I’ve been pretty much just going to work at Griffiths, and then coming home and taking care of him,” said Taylor. “He’s at a certain point now where, you know, he’s slowly progressing, but it’s like ‘OK, I need to kind of doing things for myself.’”

Taylor made that decision on New Year’s Eve, and started working towards her goal at the beginning of this year by involving herself with a children’s musical in January and February. After that, Taylor wanted a way to get back into shape and to help others.

“I saw this advertisement for the breast cancer walk,” said Taylor. “It’s like ‘OK, this sounds like fun.’”

Photo provided by Laura Taylor

Photo provided by Laura Taylor

Taylor has been training for the event with a friend, who will also be doing the walk. She began walking in March, gradually building her distance from three to 18 miles.

“The walking gives me a sense of calm,” said Taylor. “It’s very calming and relaxing. Plus because I’m getting older…[I’m] trying to get back in shape, and I’ve really noticed a lot, just, the exercising and stuff, how my endurance has gotten better.”

While Taylor hasn’t known anyone with breast cancer, she has had family affected by cancer. Still, her participation is more fueled by a rebirth, and a general opportunity to help others. It’s also been a challenge that she could take head on.

“It’s been a big learning experience and a challenge, and I wanted something that was challenging,” said Taylor.