Welcome to Hope4Tayt

Welcome to Hope4Tayt

My name is Julie Barth. Taytem is my daughter and founder of Hope4Tayt. Our family has been through many horrible times and crises over the past twenty years, and I suppose it would easy for all of us to feel sorry for the road we have traveked, but that is not how we see our journey. The path has been rocky, tumultuous, heart wrenching, and, yes, at times, unbearable. But it is in the small victories where we draw our strength and we find hope.

Hope Exists Inside of Us All

Hope is a funny word. Hope is something that exists inside of us all, like a shiny beacon pushing us forward. Hope also, can be the most inspiring emotion, or it can sometimes feel like the biggest letdown. It allows you to look at things differently, but hope isn’t always uplifting. What's most difficult is that hope can come, and it can go, if you stop looking for the silver lining.

Examining Your Belief System 

When Tayt was born, I begged the heavens to let her stay with me. I made promises with God about what I would do and how I would find some way to make all of her suffering purposeful. But when my husband, Taytem’s father Colin, was given the worst diagnosis possible at the young age of 33, I had to really examine my belief system. After all that we had been through “saving” Taytem, to keep her with us, I couldn’t imagine it was time for him to say goodbye.

Coincidence is no Coincidence

I don’t believe there is such a thing as coincidence, and I do also believe that everything happens for a reason. That reason, however, doesn't always necessarily seem like a good one when you are facing it. It often takes years, a whole lot of introspection, and, yes, hindsight to see what that reason is. Colin, the love of my life, my high school sweetheart, my whole world, was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer just when Tayt was about to take off and soar. At the time, it felt like a cruel joke. Now I see that he and she were here together because the combation of their spirits' journey that had to happen. There had to be a higher purpose.

Hope Keeps You Going

All of the nights spent caring for Tayt; not sure if she would make it. All of the conversations Colin and I shared about our fears, about what she would become, what she would be capable of doing, were, in my mind, supposed to be experiences that we would conquer and share together. I blinked, however, and Colin was gone. The thing that kept me going after losing my best friend, was hope. 

Luck Is In the Eyes of the Beholder

After we lost Colin, it almost felt as if things could be “normal” again; we could live our lives without the fire drills, the constant hospital stays, whether it was Tayt or Colin, we could fade away into normalcy. Right when life was quieting, Tayt got cancer. As true to Tayt, it was one of the rarest forms of cancer and 98% of the cases are in senior citizens, yet Tayt was just 13 years old. It took us three months to figure out what the tumor was, to begin with. It was then that I realized that she is either the most unlucky of the luckiest people or the luckiest of the most unlucky, and when you think about it, the semantics don’t matter.

We Want to Share Tayt's Gifts With the World

I found my way through the better half of a decade now looking into the face of my children’s eyes and knowing that Colin is never gone. His spirit rests in my them, as it will in my children’s children. That is just one of the many gifts he left. Throughout all of Tayt’s isolation, hospital stays, loneliness, her art allowed her to express herself. Her drawings and paintings are just some of the gifts she gave to us, and now we want to share them with the world. The last thing I said to Colin in the wee hours of the morning before he was gone was, “Colin, what you have been through will not be for naught.” I told him and myself that his death had to mean something. It had to change hearts and perspectives.

Hope4Tayt's Mission

The website that Tayt and I built, along with the charity Hope4Tayt, was born from the desire to share both Tayt and Colin’s gifts with the world. Tayt paint's, draws, and creates not only because is makes her feel good; she wants to make others happy. She has painted pictures for people, done custom drawings to lift hearts, and just sought to make the world a “prettier” place.

Countless Strangers Have Given Us Hope

Over the years, so many countless strangers have given to me, her, our family, in so many ways, whether it was a meal when I was stuck at the hospital, babysitting or picking up from school when I had to be with Colin or Tayt, or just being there to vent to and have heavy shoulders. Illness and crises brings a particular type of loneliness that you can’t understand from the outside, but all of the people who were there for the big gestures, as well as the small, saved our family and gave us hope.

Our Prayer for Hope4Tayt

Our prayer is that Hope4Tayt can pay back all of the assistance, giving, and true outpouring of the communities that gave to us, to others in need. We want to be the heavy shoulder for others experiencing the unimaginable, because although we might not be able to “know” what others’ feel; we can imagine. Our products exist for two reasons; to make people’s day brighter and to make sure that no one ever feels alone in their most devastating moment. We are all here to help one another; not to go it alone.

With Sincere Gratitude

Today is the day we are putting our final touches on the website together, Tayt and I. We are also working on her line of children's books. If anyone is committed to making children smile, be tolerant of others, and persevere, it is Tayt. Princess PuPuTay is our next venture to help families and children navigate life. Colin has been gone for 14 years, and in some ways it feels like just yesterday he was running around and playing with the kids, and in others, a lifetime ago. It is fitting that we should be near the end of a 14 year promise, on the day that God granted me the greatest gift I will have ever known, my husband and best friend. Happy birthday Colin... we will be together again one day.

Thank you for helping in our effort to spread the many gifts that we, as a family, are grateful for and believe that they were meant to share with you.

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