Words matter: Taylor Hendrick still shining despite name-calling

Welcome to the newest member of #MollysKids.
Taylor Hedrick is a 15-year-old in Iredell County who lives with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis....
Taylor Hedrick is a 15-year-old in Iredell County who lives with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She is the newest one of our amazing #MollysKids.(HENDRICK FAMILY PHOTO)
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 3:53 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Taylor Hedrick is a 15-year-old in Iredell County who lives with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. She is the newest one of our amazing #MollysKids.

“My daughter is amazing, and I am so proud of her,” said her mom, Jennifer Hedrick. “It has been a super hard year with her illness, starting high school, and dealing with some of the ugliness that can happen in hallways when someone looks different. But, Taylor always has a smile on her face. She has love for everyone in her heart, even those who call her names like, ‘Crippled’ and ‘Old Lady.’”

Oh, those are hate-filled words for a 15-year-old. Hate even typing them. Come on. Please. Name-calling never works, especially about those living with struggles they can’t help.

But again, Jennifer says her daughter is amazing and rises above. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis affects about 50,000 kids in the United States. Taylor was diagnosed a decade ago at the age of five. She has faced days and nights of pain and fatigue, multiple surgeries, medicine changes, blood drives, and countless doctor appointments. She says she loves her team at Levine Children’s and is currently getting infusions on weekends. In theory, that’ll help not miss much school in her upcoming year. She is a rising 10th grader at North Iredell High School in Olin, NC.

Her mom, dad and two older brothers (Cole and Trace) also graduated from that high school. Their family has lived in Iredell county their whole life.

“Taylor loves animals, her family, church, and she loves to sing,” said Jennifer. “She refuses to let the disease define her. She missed more than 40-days of school last year despite trying hard not to, but still maintained A’s and B’s for almost all of her classes. Throughout her school career she has been told, ‘No.’ Like when she tried cheerleading in middle school. She was told she couldn’t be on the team because she couldn’t stunt. But I really want to emphasize that she is AMAZING. She is the strongest person I know. In fact, she’s now a lead role in the high school production of ‘Willy Wonka, the Musical’! She loves with purity, has a heart of compassion, and works hard to overcome, every day.”

The reason Taylor has to get her infusions—the ones she’s getting on weekends—is that she has failed all injectable meds, says Jennifer. They are very expensive, Jennifer said, and like many #MollysKids families we write about, insurance doesn’t fully cover the treatment.

“She’s handling it like a champ,” she said. “I also started a new job after working at Iredell Memorial Hospital in the ER for the past 15 years. I did so to focus more on Taylor. The last two years in healthcare have been tough and since Taylor started infusions on the weekends, I had to find something during the week at home.”

You never know what someone is going through… and a reminder… kindness always wins.

Welcome, Taylor. You are remarkable. Keep shining.


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