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Taelley's Triumph: A Journey of Smiles and Strength

Taelley's life began with a long list of challenges.

Born prematurely alongside her identical twin sister in 2015, Taelley faced many early health challenges, including a pulmonary hemorrhage and hydrocephalus. Doctors told Taelley’s mom, Lindsey, that her baby would never walk, talk, or have any quality of life.

The Start of a Long Journey

Taelley's medical journey began with her first brain surgery – placing a tiny ventriculoperitoneal shunt – when she weighed just 4 pounds. Despite initial success, there were many complications. Shunts failed and became infected with staphylococcal meningitis. Taelley's resilience was tested further by a rare brain infection, mycobacterium abscessus, pushing her tiny body to the brink. Mycobacterium abscessus is a species of rapidly growing, multidrug-resistant, nontuberculous mycobacteria (very small bacteria). This infection had only been reported in the brain of a child one other time in the United States – two weeks before Taelley’s. Lindsey was told that if they don't start an intense round of antibiotics, then she would not make it. Within two months, she cleared the infection. Everyone was shocked and amazed at the resilient little girl.

Any time they gave her a walker or cane, she hated it because she wanted to walk on her own without assistance. Seeing Tae walk again was a true miracle. Her team at Shriners Children’s is the reason she is walking here today.
Lindsey, Taelley's mom

Finding Care and Hope at Shriners Children’s

Taelley experienced yet another trial when she was 7 years old. Intermittent shunt failure symptoms meant she had to go in for surgery, where she had a stroke on the operating room table. Despite the setback, Taelley showed remarkable courage and determination during her recovery.

Following her harrowing stroke, Taelley embarked on a transformative journey at Shriners Children's Northern California. Intense physical and occupational therapy became her path to progress, supported by a dedicated care team. Therapy was hard, but she fought through it, even on days she didn’t want to go. Her therapists inspired and encouraged her to walk again. Three months into therapy, she got a new leg brace and started walking with a cane.

“Any time they gave her a walker or cane, she hated it because she wanted to walk on her own without assistance,” Lindsey says with pride. “Seeing Tae walk again was a true miracle. Her team at Shriners Children’s is the reason she is walking here today.”

Learning to Ride a Bike

The BikeFit program at Shriners Children’s Northern California offered Taelley a chance to realize her dream of riding a bike. With customized adaptive bicycles and six weeks of training, Taelley gained not only mobility, but a newfound joy.

“Everyone made us feel like part of the family in the program. Tae was always tired towards the end of bike training, but never wanted to stop,” said Lindsey. “The bike fit program has been truly amazing and life-changing for Taelley and our family. Our backyard backs up to a bike trail, and now all of us can ride bikes together as a family. The smile on Taelley’s face when she is riding says it all.”

Peace of Mind

To date, Taelley has undergone 25 brain surgeries. She and Lindsey have been to their fair share of hospitals, and Lindsey knows how stressful receiving a bill can be.

“Going through something like we have and then getting a large hospital bill is heartbreaking,” she said. “All you can do is cry. I don’t worry when we come here. We can be seen and taken care of, which is huge. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bill from Shriners Children’s.”

Today, Taelley embodies resilience and determination. Walking, talking, and learning to run again, she embraces life with infectious laughter and boundless spirit. Shriners Children’s Northern California remains a beacon of hope, where Taelley's journey of triumph continues.

Taelley's Journey

Thanks to Shriners Children's, Taelly's triumphs can continue.

physical therapist working with Taelley

Taelley works hard with a therapist during a physical therapy session at Shriners Children's Northern California.

Taelley playing with dollhouse

Taelley plays with a dollhouse.

Taelley, mom, provider

Taelley during an outpatient appointment

Next Steps

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