, Newburyport, MA

January 17, 2014

Coming together for Taylor

After 2011 accident, community continues to rally around Salisbury teen


---- — SALISBURY — Life changed irreparably for the Brown family on Aug. 26, 2011, when Kim and Brian Brown’s then 16-year-old daughter Taylor suffered near-fatal injuries in a moped accident in Rochester, N.H.

Home since May 2012 after months in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, due to the severe brain trauma, Taylor requires around-the-clock care.

“I wanted her home; I’m so glad she’s home,” Kim Brown said recently. “Taylor’s awake and in a wheelchair, and she can move her right arm and thumb. She understands what people say.

“This has been devastating for our family. If I could turn back the clock, I would, but we’ve been very blessed with people in our lives who go the extra mile for us,” she said. “I can’t say enough about my family, friends, my colleagues at work at Anna Jaques radiology, our neighbors. We needed a foot of land for the (house) expansion (to meet setback regulations), and our neighbor told us, ‘I’ll sell it to you for a $1.’ God puts people in your life for a reason.”

But even strangers have stepped to the plate for Taylor.

Salisbury building inspector David Lovering first met her when the Browns began work on a 21-by-24-foot expansion to their Salisbury home that would allow them to bring Taylor home. With the help of many friends and local craftsmen who donated their skills and time, they were able to bring her home just as insurance ran out.

“I couldn’t get over it when I first saw Taylor,” Lovering said. “She reminded me so much of my own daughter.”

Taylor made it home, but the once-active athlete is unable to tend to her own care. Her friends at Triton Regional High School rallied around her, as have others. There have been fundraising events in Taylor’s honor, but her condition has — and will — require extensive attention.

“They have a long road ahead of them,” Lovering said. “I’m a Mason. I thought our lodge could do something. I’m a father; I can imagine what this must be like for her parents.”

Reaching out to the members of St. Mark’s Lodge in Newburyport, Lovering and his fellow Masons were able to raise $1,450 for Taylor’s care, presenting it to the Browns last month. He’s hoping more financial assistance will be coming from his brother Masons’ efforts.

The money came from outright donations from St. Mark’s Lodge brethren, Lovering said, as well as the efforts of Masons Jono Gray and JT Mouradian and their band, Demijon.

“They played at the Yankee Homecoming celebrations in Newburyport the last two summers, donating their time and all the proceeds to what has become known as the Taylor Brown Fund,” Lovering said. “Brother Gray and Brother Mouradian have promised to continue their efforts to ensure that Taylor Brown and her family will remain in the hearts and minds of the Brothers of St. Mark’s Lodge.”

“Dave helped us expedite the permit process so we could build the expansion,” Brown said. “We got a call from the Masons who asked us to come for dinner. They presented us with the check. It was just wonderful.”

Others are also working on Taylor’s behalf, as her family deals with paying the healthcare expenses that pop up every day and the little extras that can improve Taylor’s life.

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, at Flatbread Company in Amesbury, friends and family members are holding a benefit for Taylor with all proceeds going to the Brown family to help pay for therapies, treatment, supplies and equipment that can make life better for her.

For example, 19-year old Taylor currently attends a Triton program during the week that offers physical, occupational and speech therapies. But insurance won’t pay for any more physical therapy nor does it provide much to help purchase equipment.

“Jen Alves goes to school with Taylor every day; we couldn’t function without her,” Brown said. “We used some of the money raised to get Taylor an all-terrain wheelchair so she can enjoy the outdoors. Taylor was very athletic. She started swimming competitively at the Newburyport Y when she was 9, and she was on the Triton team.”

There are blessed moments every day with Taylor, Brown said, like the first day she came home. Nervous at first as they struggled to maneuver Taylor into her room, her father made a funny remark.

“And we heard this rasping sound,” Brown said. “We looked, and Taylor was laughing. The first sound she made in seven months was her laughing. Now, my husband’s job each day is to make her laugh.

“I thank God she’s alive and we have her with us. But I couldn’t get through this without God, our friends and family.”