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Derek Taylor is home, but family still needs help

THE BALTIMORE SUN

LOYAL FRIENDS, family support and overwhelming community generosity have helped make Derek Taylor's transition home as smooth as can be expected after months in the hospital.

The 1996 South Carroll High School graduate was severely injured in a diving accident in August while working a summer job as a lifeguard. Derek broke his neck and was paralyzed from the chest down after plunging headfirst to the bottom of a pool.

After spending the past three months at Kernan Hospital in Baltimore, Derek has limited use of his shoulders and arms. His hands remain paralyzed. Sherry Howard, Derek's mother, explains that Derek is classified as a tetraplegic, meaning incomplete paralysis.

Derek receives physical therapy at Kernan Hospital twice a week. Next month, Derek will spend two weeks at the Maryland Rehabilitation Center for Assessment, where he will be evaluated for skills and job training.

One of the many challenges the Taylor family has faced since Derek's accident was how to make their house wheelchair-accessible. Led by Laurie and Tom Lewis, a group of friends and neighbors organized a committee to build a handicapped-accessible wing.

The group organized several fund-raisers to raise some of the $45,000 needed for the project. They also tried to make use of available resources, focusing on collecting donations of materials and labor.

Laurie Lewis is pleased that most of the work -- which includes the addition of a bedroom, family room and a garage, nearing completion -- was performed through the generosity of local businesses, organizations and friends. The plumbing, drywall, carpet, tile and carpentry work were donated.

Some work remains. An elevator is needed to assist Derek from the garage to the living area. The cost is $13,300, and the family again is asking for community help.

An auction is being planned April 12 at Mount Airy Elementary School as a fund-raiser. Donations are being sought from local businesses. The event will include dinner, a dessert table and a live and silent auction.

The committee spearheading the auction hopes to establish trust fund to help other families who face a physical tragedy such as Derek's.

Donations may be mailed to: The Derek Taylor Trust Fund, Carroll County Bank and Trust Co., Box 677, Mount Airy 21771.

Information: (301) 829-9365.

Blood donors needed

Friends of Taylorsville resident Bernie Crown are asking the community to support a blood drive Feb. 15 at Morgan Chapel Church, Woodbine and Hoods Mill roads, Woodbine.

The Red Cross blood collection center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Crown is recovering from a farming accident in which his hand became caught in a combine. Crown was able to free himself and drive to his home for help. He was transported to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Since the injury, Crown has undergone surgery that required 70 pints of blood.

He is undergoing physical therapy at Kernan Hospital in Baltimore.

His friends and neighbors would like to assist Crown and his family by helping to replace the blood he used during this emergency.

Blood donors and volunteer help are needed to make the drive successful.

Information: Mike Vlahos Jr., (301) 829-0452.

Italian buffet

Spaghetti, lasagna, and other Italian dishes will be featured at an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet at Prospect United Methodist Church on Feb. 15.

Debbie Barneski, youth group leader, is coordinating the annual event, with other volunteers and youth group members.

Salad, Italian bread and dessert will be served.

The cost is $6 for adults, $3 for children ages 5 to 12, and children younger than age 4 eat for free.

The church is at 5923 Woodville Road, Mount Airy.

Information: (301) 831-6339.

Pub Date: 1/31/97

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