Teenagers and their parents always clash. Luckily for Teresa Ryan, Chris Kreider and Derick Brassard are there to help out.
When Teresa's daughter, 13-year-old Taylor Ryan, who is battling Neuro Degenerative Langerhan's Cell Histiocytosis that has caused a lesion on her brain as well as Diabetes Insipidus, isn't drinking or eating enough, she lets Kreider and Brassard know and they get on the horn to Taylor, who happily obliges.
"She listens to them more than me," Teresa said, laughing.
A surprise hospital visit with Rangers legend Adam Graves back in 2010 has led to Taylor being one of the most visible faces around the Rangers, namely with her two friends, Chris and Derick.
"The relationship she has with those two is unbelievable," Teresa Ryan told NewYorkRangers.com in a recent phone interview.
For Taylor, though, the two Blueshirts are like an extension to her family.
“There are a lot of good parts about having them as friends,” Taylor said. “I guess the best part is I know that they are always there for me. If I am having a bad day or just not feeling good, I can text them and they are there.”
“They¹re like big brothers or older cousins to me and it means a lot to have them in my life,” she added. “They help me through a lot of really bad times.”
"They're an awesome family," Kreider said of the Ryans. "They're around a decent amount so we've established a pretty good friendship. It feels like they're part of the team at this point."
|ABOVE: Taylor and Adam Graves; TOP: Taylor drops the puck at MSG for Hockey Fights Cancer Night (Rebecca Taylor/MSG Photos) |
Since her introduction to Graves, Taylor has been a guest around the organization and the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the non-profit organization that works with the Rangers to positively impact children facing obstacles, taking part in events like Blueshirts Off
Their Backs and this year’s New York Rangers Hockey Fights Cancer Night, where she dropped the ceremonial face-off.
“That was so cool,” Taylor said of the Blueshirts Off Their Backs ceremony. “I didn’t even know where I was going when they were bringing me down to the ice. They just said that I was going to Adam because he had a surprise for me. Then when I got down there, Adam told me what I was going to do and I couldn¹t stop smiling.”
Since that first visit from Graves, Taylor has been a regular at MSG, celebrating everything from wins to her 10th birthday, including a cake from the organization.
Taylor's story begins much earlier than her 2010 visit, though. At age 3, she was diagnosed with Diabetes Insipidus, and in that time she has undergone numerous tests to determine its cause. Then the lesion was discovered, which has led to countless MRIs, x-rays, PET scans and surgeries. She began chemotherapy in 2010, and has since undergone more than 130 intravenous chemotherapy treatments.
Taylor, though, has not allowed the disease to define her or prevent her from leading a normal life as best as she can.
Teresa said Taylor fights to not miss school for extended periods and has even begun physical therapy so she can start playing soccer again. She is also a member of the National Junior Honor's Society at her school.
Her drive and determination has led to the founding of the Taylor’s Hope Foundation, which aims to raise awareness for Histiocytosis, which affects just one in every 200,000 children.
The awareness was raised on Jan. 26, 2014, when Taylor was recognized as the Rangers' Hero of the Game at the 2014 Stadium Series at Yankee Stadium.
"She really tries to turn all this negative into a positive," Teresa said.
|The Ryan Family with Rangers forward Chris Kreider. |
Teresa praised the work of the Rangers, the Garden of Dreams Foundation and the National Hockey League for its Hockey Fights Cancer month.
"It really gives you hope," she said. "It shows you they're trying to bring up awareness," and that without awareness, "nothing gets done.”
While Taylor¹s battle continues through this day, she has a message for those battling right along with her, even if it¹s trying to find a way to smile once a day.
“I would tell them that sometimes it is really hard to always have a good day, but you always have to try to find something to make you smile and stay positive,” she said. “The rangers are like my happy place, even when I feel like I am really sad or hurting, I think
about them and they make me feel better, even if it is just a little.
“Everyone should try to find one happy thing to hold on to when they need it,” she added. “My mom always says to take it one day at a time and on the bad days take it one hour at a time, and sometimes when I am feeling pretty bad, that is what I try to do.”