St Albans teenager praised for supporting sick parents

A ST ALBANS teenager, who became her parents’ “rock” when they both fell ill, has been praised for her triumph in the face of adversity.

Louise Taylor, 16, has been through a lot over the last couple of years. In February 2010, her mother Emma was diagnosed with breast cancer and, nine months later, her father suffered a massive heart attack, leaving him unconscious for days.

But rather than let it get her down the teenager, of Glenferrie Road, set about raising money to help others and all her efforts have seen her nominated for a Hertfordshire Young Person of the Year (YOPEY) award.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma underwent an operation and began chemotherapy.

She said: “Louise was there all the time. It was amazing support when I was feeling low and there is no doubt at all, her way of coping with an awful time was to care for me.”

On her 15th birthday, Louise held a pink party for family and friends and asked people to make a donation to the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity instead of buying gifts. She raised �750, with a matched donation from Hertfordshire Freemasons.

Modest Louise said it was all just a way of coping. “Raising money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer was important because they help people with cancer and those affected by it, like us,” she explained.

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Later that year, Louise’s 61-year-old dad, Anthony, had a heart attack whilst teaching at Francis Combe Academy, in Garston.

His life was saved thanks to a defibrillator which had been donated to the school by local charity Wayne’s Fund. This sparked Louise into raising money to get a machine for Beaumont School, where she is a pupil.

To kick start the fundraising, Louise and her brother Andrew, 17, held a special assembly to raise awareness of the charity and the great work it does.

Her efforts saw all fundraising records at the school smashed, with �1,890 raised through a non-uniform day and cake sale – enough money to purchase two defibrillators.

“Everyone was so generous,” said Louise. “When I heard dad had been saved by a defibrillator and learned about Wayne’s Fund, I wanted to help and get a machine for our school.”

YOPEY is the brainchild of former national newspaper journalist Tony Gearing, who became so fed up with the bad press being piled on the young that he set up the awards to give them a fairer image.

Louise was nominated by her head of year, Danny Sievewright, who said: “Parents, students and staff have all described her as an example and inspiration to adults and young people.”