#UNSTOPPABLETM IMPACT STORIES: Shailynn Taylor
(Easter Seals Alberta)
For many bright individuals who are living with disabilities, the ever-increasing cost of post-secondary education can present a huge barrier that stands in the path of their success and aspirations. Along with help to cover the cost of expenses such as tuition fees and textbooks, scholarships and bursaries from Easter Seals also help cover added expenses that are unique to those living with disabilities: specialized equipment, technologies, and supports that are required to make learning and success possible.
Learn more about Easter Seals programs and services.
Alberta, 2018 – Twenty two year-old Shailynn Taylor has always dreamed of becoming a lawyer so as to champion the human rights of people living with disabilities. She is presently a fourth-year student at Mount Royal University in Calgary where she’s enrolled in a Bachelor of Criminal Justice degree program. She’s tenacious, driven, and has overcome many obstacles and barriers to be where she is today.
When she was just eighteen months old, Shailynn was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a rare degenerative genetic disease – similar to ALS – that occurs in infants and young children. Doctors did not expect her to live past 12 years old as SMA has no known cure and is often fatal.
Despite the diagnosis, Shailynn continues to defy expectations. She says, “I grew up in a happy home with countless opportunities and lots of hope for what my future would entail; always pushing the short life expectancy I’d been given to the side.” She requires assistance with daily activities that most Canadians take for granted – such as getting in and out of bed, getting dressed, cooking and cleaning – but has never allowed the disease to define her. Shailynn says defiantly, “I never saw myself as disabled and rarely felt there was something that I couldn’t do.”
“I would not have been able to continue with my education if it hadn’t been for the generous scholarship I received from Easter Seals…. The scholarship allowed me to focus on my health and my studies instead of the stress of finances and how I would afford not only school, but also the additional expenses my disease leads to as well.” – Shailynn Taylor
She remains focused on her goals. “I can honestly say I would not have been able to continue with my education if it hadn’t been for the generous [Phyllis Davidson Easter Seals] Scholarship I received from Easter Seals Alberta. The scholarship allowed me to focus on my health and my studies instead of the stress of finances and how I would afford not only school, but also the additional expenses my disease leads to as well. Expenses like a $150 wheelchair repair or a $1000 new part for the only vehicle I can be transported in. My family would often find themselves scraping together the money required to keep me moving forward. This scholarship not only relives my stress but my family’s as well, and we will forever be grateful to Easter Seals for making this life I love so much possible… Despite living with such an ugly disease, my life is so beautiful.”