While many teenagers spend their summers hanging out with their friends, enjoying a reprieve from school, Taylor Lambright has been engaging in more philanthropic pursuits. The 16-year-old from Western Pennsylvania has been organizing a 5k fundraising race benefitting pancreatic cancer charity Project Purple. Taylor draws her inspiration through friend and role model, Rick Carone, who has battled pancreatic cancer for years.
A self-described ‘science nerd’, Taylor first became interested in the pancreas and pancreatic cancer when she was in 7th grade. Taylor’s science teacher recognized her love of learning and encouraged her to push herself academically. Taylor was soon studying college-level science courses as a middle school student. During the same school year, her computer class teacher introduced Taylor to Randy Pausch’s book, The Last Lecture, which chronicles the author’s battle with pancreatic cancer. Taylor says, “I recommend googling ‘The Last Lecture’ and taking time out of your day to watch it. It could change your life, just like it changed mine.” The rising high school junior has spent the last several years researching and writing about pancreatic cancer.
In many ways, Taylor is your typical young American woman. She plays basketball for her high school team and plans to continue playing when she attends college. She runs to maintain her fitness for basketball. She explains, “Because I play so much basketball year round, running is a big part of my life that I take pride in. I love running outside and absolutely hate the treadmill. I love events like color runs and plan on attending my first Tough Mudder this year.”
It was Taylor’s other hobby, however, that brought her interests full-circle. Taylor’s family members- father Terry, mother Marty, and twin sister Erin- are all avid hunters. “I am very close with my family. We love the outdoors. We love hunting, fishing, riding quads and dirt bikes all summer, going to our hunting cabin or going camping, shooting our bows competitively and riding our horses.”
When Taylor was in 8th grade, she began following hunter/athlete Cameron Hanes on social media. She watched a video he had posted one day and learned about Rick Carone of Sheep Shape TV. In the video, Cam explained that his friend and fellow hunter, Rick, was battling pancreatic cancer. Taylor looked up Rick Carone and was so inspired by his story that she decided to do all she could to help him.
Taylor Meets Rick Carone
Taylor began following Rick Carone on social media and was moved by his fighting spirit. She says, “When I found out who Rick was, it was early on in his battle. I have seen him grow and fight these last three years and he has taught me more than he will ever give himself credit for.” On her 16th birthday in February, Taylor received a personal message from Rick asking if she would like to meet him in person at Cabela’s grand opening in Short Pump, VA. “It was the best experience of my life, getting to meet the person I have looked up to for the last few years.”
Rick has been a tremendous influence in Taylor’s life. She explains, “I think he is simply a gift from God. The number of people he inspires and motivates every single day is unbelievable. If you saw Rick in public, you would never think to yourself, ‘That man is sick,’ because he is in such great shape physically. On Rick’s bad days, he will go run a mountain, when on most people’s good days, they couldn’t even do that.” She adds, “I want people to know that Rick does not give himself enough credit. He fights for his life every single day, yet he puts everybody he loves in his life before himself. He never gives up. It has been more than three years since his diagnosis and giving up and quitting does not cross his mind.”
Taylor Organizes 5k Fundraiser
Taylor is organizing a 5k fundraiser which will benefit Project Purple in Darling, PA, on August 13, 2016. The race will be held in Rick Carone’s honor and also in honor of Rick’s friend, Terry Carr, who recently lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Taylor hopes to raise money for pancreatic cancer research and to help those who are currently battling the disease. She says, “The main goal for me is to raise awareness, get the word out, and expand Project Purple’s audience so that more and more people can be aware of how dangerous pancreatic cancer is.”
For more information about the Run to Beat Pancreatic Cancer, or to register or make a donation to the event, please follow this link: