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Turning the World Gold

September 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Special Features


Turning the World GoldThree years ago, Vaughan native Sabrina Cannella stumbled across the Twitter page of a teenage cancer patient in Nashville, Tennessee. Struck by the strength and liveliness of young Taylor Filorimo, Sabrina felt compelled to reach out. What began as a few simple emails soon blossomed into an extraordinary friendship that defies the boundaries of distance, hardship, and even death.

Taylor was 13 when doctors discovered a softball-sized tumour on her kidney and diagnosed her with renal cell carcinoma, a rare cancer typically found in adults. Over the next three years, she would develop 23 more tumours in her lungs, one on her spine and another behind her heart.

“She always said, ‘I will not let the fear of cancer strike me out,’” says Sabrina. “Cancer never had her — she had cancer. She always owned it.”

This past August, Sabrina flew to Nashville to spend three days with her best friend, for the first time. Little did she know that this first official meeting would also be their last. Just weeks after their visit, Sabrina received news that Taylor had suffered from a severe seizure and passed away.

“I can only describe finally meeting Tay as miraculous,” Sabrina says. “I am a strong believer that things happen for a reason and it was no coincidence that only a month after we met she made her journey to heaven. So many people get to hug and kiss their best friend on a daily basis and for three days I had that luxury.”

Like all those who knew Taylor best, Sabrina is using her death to inspire change. Taking on Taylor’s mission of “turning the world gold,” Sabrina has launched her own charity, Sabrina’s Miracle, a program that sends care packages to children with life-threatening illnesses.

“I’m constantly raising awareness and making sure that people know what gold is for, and wearing that gold ribbon, and just telling her story,” Sabrina explains. “She just inspired me to make that difference.”


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