Riverdale High School rallies around student cancer victim

Riverdale High School rallies around student cancer victim (Image 1)

The red and gold colors of Riverdale High School went green for a special cause on Friday.

Students at the Murfreesboro school rallied for the home team wearing lime green in memory of Taylor Filorimo.

Taylor, commonly called Tay, was a Riverdale Warrior who never made it to class.

The high school junior was homebound with renal cell carcinoma, a kidney cancer typically found in adults 50 years or older. The once vibrant athlete was diagnosed shortly after a softball tournament at age 13.

“I thought her journey would be through softball. She was so talented at that sport,” said mother Maria Filorimo said. “I never expected she would touch so many through the journey of cancer.”

In three years, Tay kept her head in the game, never losing her winning spirit, in spite of countless doctors' visits, treatments and hospital stays.

“When her cancer came back a second time and we learned we would be traveling out of state, I said, 'Cleats on,'” Maria said.

Tay became a champion of childhood cancer awareness, making handmade gold ribbons from her bed to hand out to others.

Her efforts didn't go unnoticed. Thousands followed her on Facebook through “Pray 4 Tay.”

She got her own Colors of Hope nail polish in her favorite lime green color. She even trended on Twitter, ranking higher than First Lady Michelle Obama during her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

On Wednesday, Tay's match against cancer ended.

When asked what she remembered most about her daughter, Maria Filorimo quietly said through tears, “Her smile, her kind heart [and] her selflessness.”

On Friday, tears gave way to cheers in the Riverdale High School gymnasium, as students wore bracelets, held signs and chanted “Play 4 Tay.”

The football team will take the rally to the field Friday night, while her family says goodbye.

“She was my greatest gift, but I shared her with everybody,” her mother said. “I want them to love her, to know her. And they do, and it's very humbling.”

Visitation for Taylor Filorimo will be held Friday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., at St. Ignatius of Antioch on Bell Road.

A funeral mass will immediately follow visitation on Saturday.

At Taylor's request, attendees are asked to wear lime green and black.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. To learn more about Taylor's journey, visit her Facebook page.

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