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Mom and Daughter Duo Honored by 3 Former Presidents for Helping Rare Disease Sufferers



Quick Smiles:

  • Texas mother-daughter duo honored by three former presidents for their work with pediatric pancreatitis
  • Rebecca’s Wish has raised over $3 million to support families and fund medical research
  • Rebecca defies the odds and is now a biomedical engineering student working on treatment options

A Texas mother and her daughter have been recognized by three former presidents for their incredible dedication to helping children with pediatric pancreatitis.

Rebecca Taylor, who was diagnosed with the rare disease at the age of 7, and her mom, Christyn, have been honored with the prestigious Points of Light Award for their work through their nonprofit organization, Rebecca’s Wish.

When Rebecca was 12, her selfless wish was granted by the Make A Wish Foundation. She wanted to form a group that could support other children dealing with pediatric pancreatitis. And so, Rebecca’s Wish was born.

Since then, their national organization has raised an impressive $3 million to support families, advance medical research, and fund fellowships for doctors specializing in treating this disease.

Rebecca’s determination to help others stems from her own experience with pediatric pancreatitis.

She said, “I wanted to start a pancreatic charity for other children so they don’t suffer like I did. Rebecca’s Wish not only gives me a way to help others; it also helps me focus on something greater than myself and that—surprisingly—has helped my own pain.”


Despite doctors’ predictions that she wouldn’t live past the age of 12, Rebecca has defied all odds. She has undergone 150 surgeries, including a life-saving experimental pancreas transplant, and has come close to death multiple times.

Today, she is a biomedical engineering student at Texas A&M University, dedicating her time to researching and developing better treatment options for pediatric pancreatitis.

The Points of Light Award, created by former President George H. W. Bush, is co-chaired by three former presidents—Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Rebecca’s mom, Christyn Taylor, President of Rebecca’s Wish, said, “Great purpose can evolve from great adversity. As a mom, I would never have chosen this for my daughter, but we now get the privilege to help thousands, if not tens of thousands, of children so they don’t have to walk the difficult journey we did.”

Christyn is also actively involved in leading various programs under Rebecca’s Wish. These programs provide medical grants, supportive care, and resources to thousands of patients and their families.


They offer travel reimbursements for hospital visits, develop medical equipment specifically designed for children, and even send kids to a summer camp called Camp Hope.

Reflecting on their journey, Christyn said, “We had very little hope for this disease when Rebecca was diagnosed. We went from hospital to hospital, and nobody knew how to help a child with long-term pancreatitis. We do not want another child or family to have to go through what we went through in our long journey.”

Rebecca is incredibly proud of what she and her mom have accomplished through Rebecca’s Wish. She said, “I’m really proud of what my mom and I have created—and I’ll work on this until the day I die.”

If you want to learn more about their inspiring work, visit their website at

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