Harrison Central student gets the surprise and crown of her life

Taylor Hopwood (wearing the crown) isn't letting her fight against cancer slow her down. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Taylor Hopwood (wearing the crown) isn't letting her fight against cancer slow her down. (Photo source: WLOX News)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Often times the news of being diagnosed with a severe form of cancer can be devastating. And that news can be even more devastating to a child who has a whole life ahead of them. That's the case for one Gulfport teen, who isn't letting her fight against cancer slow her down. That's why she now wears a new crown.

It all started in the carpool lane at Harrison Central. A surprise limo ride followed by a crowning not even she could believe.

"It was overwhelming. I was like 'Oh my gosh, this is for me,'" Taylor Hopwood said.

After Taylor, 14, was picked up from school, she arrived to her next surprise, a warm welcome to dinner from her family and friends at Salute in Gulfport to receive a special crown.

"It's amazing because I feel like God has brought me through this for some reason in my life and it's really been a blessing to me to have all of this support and love from everybody," Taylor said.

Taylor suffers from a rare case of cancer called Pseudopapillary, cystic tumors of the liver and abdomen. She's been fighting this rare form of cancer for over two years now. She says she's honored, and nearly speechless to be named and crowned by the founder of Pink Heart Funds, JoAn Niceley, as the 2014-2015 Princess.

"I found out how outgoing she was. How involved she is in school, how involved with homecoming and sports and just everything. She has not let her cancer slow her down. I thought to myself, 'This is the child'," Niceley said.

"A privilege. It's an honor because so many kids go through this each year, and it's really life changing," Taylor said. "All you have to do is keep your faith and trust in God."

Nearly 30 of Taylor's closest friends and family members gathered around her with love. Her father, Jeffery says no one deserves to wear this crown more than his vivacious baby girl.

"She never gets down in the dumps and she's never asked, 'Why me?' And that to me is probably the biggest thing. She's never asked 'Why me?'" Jeffery says, "you have to take it one day at a time and you can only live one day at a time and tomorrow is not promised. You just capture the moment when you can and this definitely captures the moment."

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