Praying, living for Tay

Praying, living for Tay

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Praying, living for Tay

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MURFREESBORO

For three years, they have prayed for Tay.

Now, they will live for Tay.

Riverdale students took a moment to honor Taylor Filorimo during its first football pep rally of the school year on a day recognized by many as Pray For Tay Friday.

Designed to honor its football team on the morning of its first home football game of the season, Riverdale students donned lime green shirts and chanted, “Pray for Tay,” and later “Live for Tay” during a portion of the pep rally.

Filorimo, 16, died Wednesday after a three-year battle with cancer. A viewing will be held from 9-11 a.m. today at St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Community, located at 601 Bell Road. A mass will follow immediately afterward.

Maria Filorimo, Taylor’s mother, said her daughter would have enjoyed the pep rally. She never got to experience a Riverdale pep rally, which included lights, lasers, smoke and a cheer off between freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Taylor Filorimo, who was a member of the school’s softball team, was taught homebound after being diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, a kidney cancer most frequent in older adults. She is believed to be the youngest ever diagnosed with that form of cancer.

“We wanted to come out to one. It just never happened,” Maria Filorimo said. “This was, I can’t even put into words. I’m speechless.

“Oh my God, those green lights! And when I heard them all chanting, ‘Pray for Tay,’ I lost it. (Taylor) would be saying, ‘Thank you. I can’t believe you guys did it for me.’ She would have been in awe.”

Maria Filorimo says she will always pray for Tay. But she acknowledged it’s now time to begin to live for Tay, which includes raising awareness for childhood cancer. Taylor Filorimo didn’t have what is defined as a childhood cancer, but that never stopped her desire to raise awareness.

That awareness includes spreading gold ribbons to help bring awareness to childhood cancer. And September is childhood cancer awareness month.

“Tay always said she wanted gold to be like pink,” said Maria, referring to the color synonymous with breast cancer awareness.

“I’m going to live for Tay — every day. My voice is not going away, and I’m adamant about that. I mean it. I will bring awareness for kidney cancer research. And I will continue to raise awareness for childhood cancer. She was passionate about that gold ribbon. There will be gold in places.”

Maria Filorimo described her daughter as a Warrior, even more than a Riverdale Lady Warrior. She refused to take pity on herself for having a cancer, with the outlook grim from the outset.

“She was a Riverdale Warrior,” Maria Filorimo said. “But she also was a cancer-fighting warrior.”

Riverdale students began to make their own shirts to honor Filorimo following her death Wednesday afternoon. Lime green was visible throughout the bleachers during the pep rally on Friday.

“She was a strong warrior,” said Madison Woodruff, who was a softball teammate. “I knew she didn’t want to suffer anymore, so she is in the right place. She was so strong. She influenced so many people.

“We just want to keep spreading the word of childhood cancer and let everyone be aware. She didn’t want anyone to have to suffer like she went through.”

Riverdale wasn’t the only school decked out Friday in lime green, which was Filorimo’s favorite color. Students from other schools across the county, including Christiana Middle, Eagleville, Oakland Middle, Oakland High and Siegel Middle, also had students pay tribute to the girl simply known as Tay through wearing her favorite color.

“It’s really amazing what impact she’s had in Rutherford County. I know people in Kentucky and in Memphis and all of these other places that have gone green too,” said Caylee Porter, a softball teammate of Filorimo. “It’s really amazing when you realize the impact that she has had.”

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