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Steele family is thankful for community’s support after losing daughter

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Posted: Thursday, November 24, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:15 am, Thu Nov 24, 2011.

Although one will be missing around the Thanksgiving table this year, the Steele family feels they have much to be thankful for — even in the midst of tragedy.

In August, the Herald family lost Taylor, their vibrant Liberty Ranch High School senior. She died following a five-year battle against ovarian cancer, but not before making an impact on people’s hearts. Even in death, her legacy lives on through the foundation she created, called Strong as Steele.

Taylor’s mother, Lisa Steele, said Wednesday that one year ago, she was in the hospital worrying about Thanksgiving dinner.

“I’d give anything to be there,” she said, mentioning it’s one of many firsts the family will have to go through. “Thanksgiving morning will be a different for us this year.”

A family friend coordinated a fun run that they will participate in this morning. “There are little things that we can be thankful for,” Steele said.

Meanwhile, Strong as Steele has ramped up its philanthropy efforts in Taylor’s name.

Last month alone, it donated six portable DVD players plus a library of movies to a Sacramento oncology clinic Taylor frequented. These will help the time pass for patients who receive their chemotherapy in examination rooms, according to the organization’s Facebook page.

A combined $21,000 was donated to three cancer-related organizations, and every month they donate care packages filled with genderand age-appropriate items, like notepads, movies, toys, nail polish and colorful homemade pillowcases, for Sutter Medical Center patients. The foundation has also spearheaded efforts to make blankets to distribute to cancer patients.

“It has been busy, but we are so thankful for all of the support and funding that we have received to make this possible,” a post reads. “Taylor would be proud.”

Lisa Steele said there have been blessings along the way.

“Even though the hole in your heart stays huge ... being thankful that Taylor was such a remarkable young woman and person who wanted to start this foundation has been therapeutic. We are thankful for our friends who have helped carry this,” she said.

“Seeing these dreams seen through for her has given us a new focus,” she added. “Her idea of always paying it forward has resonated with so many people. She told her friend, ‘I want Strong as Steele to be bigger than Make A Wish.’”

For more information about donating to Taylor’s foundation, visit www.strong-as-steele.org.

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