Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County -- They filled all 40 lanes of Chacko's Family Bowling Center in Wilkes-Barre on Sunday -- more than 240 people in all. They rolled bowling balls taking aim at bowling pins but with a far loftier goal. They were there -- each and every one -- to help 17-year-old Taylor Thoryk of Swoyersville. "Her spirits are high. She's a fighter. She's incredible." William Thoryk spoke of the courage he's witnessed the last three months in his daughter, a Wyoming Valley West junior and member of the varsity soccer team. Taylor was diagnosed last October with a rare, aggressive cancer called acute myeloid leukemia. "When she got diagnosed, of course, you know she was down but when she seen the community, the teachers, the school district, the soccer coaches and everybody come together she's been smiling ever since even through her bad days," said Mr. Thoryk.
The bowling fundraiser was spearheaded in part by Taylor's soccer coaches Michael Davitt and Debbie Stevens. "We're like a family there at Valley West. We're constantly playing, we're constantly supporting each other," said Coach Davitt. Support is something he and the community want to give Taylor and her family in their time of crisis. "We miss Taylor a lot. We love Taylor and we just, you know, hope that she gets better very quickly," said Coach Davitt.
So many people are pulling for Taylor because of the kind of person they say she is. "She's very outgoing. She always has a smile on her face," said Mr. Thoryk. "She'll do anything for anybody." Taylor's 10-year-old cousin Ethan added, "She's funny. She's always nice. Like she'll never yell."
One thing Taylor's dad says she will do is get emotional reflecting on a bowling alley filled with love, concern and support. "Realizing that all these people are here for her... it does wonders," said Mr. Thoryk. "It's been overwhelming and our family very much appreciates everything."
Funds raised at Bowl-4-Tay will help cover medical and travel expenses for Taylor and her family. Taylor is scheduled to begin her final in-house admission for chemotherapy on Thursday.