published Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

'Miracle children' earn applause at Erlanger


by Andrew Pantazi
Twins Grace and Elise Taylor, 6, stand on stage during the 2012 Miracle Children at Erlanger hospital Tuesday evening as the audience cheers them on. The sisters are a rare form of identical twins called mono-mono twins.  They were born 8 weeks earlyon Valentine's Day and spent five weeks in the NICU. Betsy Taylor, their mother, is the president of the Children's Hospital foundation.
Twins Grace and Elise Taylor, 6, stand on stage during the 2012 Miracle Children at Erlanger hospital Tuesday evening as the audience cheers them on. The sisters are a rare form of identical twins called mono-mono twins. They were born 8 weeks earlyon Valentine's Day and spent five weeks in the NICU. Betsy Taylor, their mother, is the president of the Children's Hospital foundation.
Photo by Jenna Walker.
  • Erlanger honors "Miracle Kids"
    The Erlanger health system honored their "Miracle Kids," children who have overcome the odds, as a way to begin the holiday season at the hospital Tuesday.

Onstage, the president of Erlanger hospital talked about 50 percent survival rates and miracles.

Offstage, Betsy Taylor, president of the charitable Erlanger Health System Foundations, wiped her eyes.

Onstage, Grace and Elise Taylor, Betsy's twin daughters, were given ribbons with their names on them and designations as miracle children.

Six and a half years ago, a doctor told a pregnant Taylor that her twins shared both a placenta and an amniotic sac. The probability of their survival was 50 percent. Taylor cried but found comfort in an employee's words.

"If God can put them in there like that, he can get them out of there like that," said Taylor, who heads up Erlanger's Miracle Children program, which chooses 12 children to represent the hospital throughout the year.

On Tuesday at Erlanger's Baroness campus, the miracle children -- including Taylor's twins -- were announced. The hospital tree was lit, and a parade commenced, featuring 27 hospital departments with donated toys.

"So those are our miracle children," Erlanger President Jim Brexler said. "Can we give them a round of applause?"

Betsy Taylor then walked on stage and addressed Brexler and the crowd of doctors, parents and staff.

"Thank you so much for being a part of the miracles at Erlanger," she said.

Erlanger's miracle children talk to other patients, encouraging them, talking about their own medical problems and how they were overcome. The children also speak at fundraising events.

Taylor's twins were born on Valentine's Day 2005 and, because they had survived the pregnancy and birth, she thought she was in the clear.

But in September of this year, six weeks after her father died, Taylor found out that Grace had a congenital brain tumor. Nineteen days ago, the tumor was successfully removed without hurting Grace's vision, hearing or mobility.

Because of her story, Taylor said she fights even harder to raise money for the hospital.

"Absolutely, because I know that the miracles of medicine ... enabled my family to have a wonderful life."

about Andrew Pantazi...

Andrew Pantazi is an intern at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who says that when he was 7 he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life: play hockey for the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, he says he wasn't any good at hockey, so he became a journalist instead. He writes about the lives we hide, like the man who suffered a stroke but smiled, or the football walk-on who endured 5 ...

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