'We want to honour her dream' - Sophie Taylor's family could get Disneyland trip after all
PUBLISHED: 14:27 21 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:29 21 August 2019
It was her dream to go to Disneyland to celebrate her recovery from cancer.
But just days before the flight to Florida, Norwich five-year-old Sophie Taylor died from a second bout of more aggressive cancer.
Sophie had been in remission from osteosarcoma - bone cancer - which was diagnosed in January 2018 and during treatment her family had dedicated themselves to fulfilling her wishes.
Her father, Alex Taylor, said: "We were trying to turn negatives into positives and do it the best way that we can. Sophie was just really out of this world. She took it to a different level in terms of how she coped with things. She led by example and made the most of it."
Sophie's main dream was to visit the grey Disney castle in Florida and through children's charity, Rays of Sunshine, which grants wishes for ill young people, the trip had been booked.
Mr Taylor, 31, said: "We had held a celebration for Sophie's remission and were looking forward to going to Florida. But Sophie started becoming very unwell again and doctors told us the cancer had returned and spread throughout her lungs with no chance of cure.
"We were travelling to a hospice for end of life care instead of going to Florida."
The family, who wanted to fulfil Sophie's last wish, then learned that Rays of Sunshine would no longer be funding the trip as it only supports living children.
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Mr Taylor said: "It made us feel pretty rubbish along with all the other cuts that happen when your child dies. The date also tied in with my wife, Kirsty's 30th birthday and my daughter, Evie's 8th birthday.
"We wanted to take the ashes there so at least we can say we've taken Sophie. For us, we're committing to all the things she wanted to do.
"As parents you live out your child's dreams and you want to see them went to come true - especially with limited time."
Now friends, Kelly and Tim Austin, have launched a crowdfundraising campaign to take the Taylor family to Florida next January, one year on.
Mr Taylor added: "We want to honour Sophie's dreams in the best way that we can."
A spokesperson from Rays of Sunshine said: "After Sophie tragically passed away her father contacted the charity to ask if we could continue to fund a holiday for the family to go to Disney World in Florida. Unfortunately, we had to deny this request.
"Our charity and trustees continually strive to enhance the lives of our wish children and their families every day and completely empathise with the family's disappointment.
"However, as a charity we are legally obliged to comply with the Charity's objects and have to remain focused on those children living with terminal and serious illnesses.
"Having met the family on several occasions our entire team are heartbroken by Sophie's tragic passing and wish the family every sympathy at this difficult time.
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