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Tristan Taylor: A Journey to Freedom

Article by Jillian Mitchell // February 01 2012
Tristan Taylor: A Journey to Freedom

"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." ~Ryunosuke Satoro 

Every drummer remembers his or her first gig—the thrill and excitement, the nerves (and that dreaded pimple that won’t go away), the unbearable heat, the unshaken concentration (1-2-3-4), the sound of cheering classmates, and the realization that this is what you want to do with the rest of your life. For Tristan Taylor, that moment was grade 8 when he and some friends put together a band, and the group of middle-schoolers played their inaugural gig at the local community centre—opening for a high school band, to boot. 

“The band’s name was Tuesday,” recalls Tristan's mom, Marion Taylor. “Tristan still has that t-shirt. They practiced at his friend Kyle's house. God bless his mom for putting up with them and making them nachos late at night!” 

The twenty-two year old from Esquimalt, BC, has come a long way since the days of Tuesday. Armed with a daily practice regime and an insatiable thirst for knowledge, many agree that Tristan is well positioned for a bright future in the drumming industry. 

But unlike other twenty-two year olds, Tristan is in the fight of his life. Just shy of his sixteenth birthday, the aspiring drummer was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a form of cancer typically found in infants and young children. What followed was a seven-year journey of chemotherapy, radiation, blood transfusions, PET scans, surgeries, and an emergency angioplasty, to no avail. Yet despite his urgent circumstance, Tristan keeps his eyes on the cure and both hands on his sticks. 

“Music represents a level of creativity and freedom in my life,” said Tristan. “While I am able to do so, I have the ability to go on a journey without leaving my home and exercise my mind while simultaneously removing my disease from the picture.” 

Today, Tristan, a budding drum teacher and tattoo artist, has a newfound dedication to his health—relinquishing chemo for more holistic measures. And Tristan’s commitment to good nutrition, exercise and a daily perusing of the internet led him to the Burzyski Clinic in Houston, Texas. It is this non-toxic, experimental gene therapy that has single-handedly restored hope in the Taylor family. 

“Tristan was prepared to sell his drums to help support himself in getting to Houston. I said no, that his drums were his to keep and not a sellable item,” shared Marion. “Drumming is the one thing that brings him happiness and a sense of purpose and there is no way I would take that away from him.” 

Instead, Marion has organized fund-raising events and solicited the help of her community. To date, Marion has raised around $27,000, one fifth of what her son needs to attend the Burzyski Clinic. 

The Black Page would like to recognize courageous drummers, like Tristan, by sharing his story with our global community of musicians, a community that he very much deserves to be part of for years to come. If you are so inclined, donations to the Taylor family can be made at Coast Capital Savings to the "Tristan Taylor Trust Fund" (British Columbia, Canada), by cheque or money order, or through PayPal.

Please visit the family’s Facebook page for more details: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tristan-Taylor-Fundraising-Page/197841383617041?sk=info



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About the Author
Jillian Mitchell

As a professional vocalist (and self-professed grammar nerd), Jill brings a fresh perspective to The Black Page. In addition to earning a B.A. in music, creative writing and English, Jill has also studied vocals with Philadelphia-based vocal coach Owen Brown, known for his work with Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, and Wyclef Jean. Jill makes up the other half of world soul group The Mitchells, alongside Black Page creator, Sean Mitchell.

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