November is officially Lung Cancer Awareness Month. To help raise awareness and encourage support for lung cancer research, we’d like to share the story of a Green Mountain employee very close to our hearts:
Jay Taylor worked as an integral part of the Green Mountain Energy family for almost 10 years when he received shocking news in 2012: stage 4 lung cancer. At only 38 years old and a non-smoker who competed in marathons to raise funds to fight cancer, he was the last person who should have received this diagnosis—demonstrating how horribly indiscriminate this disease truly is. Not one to give up, Jay fought the illness with everything he had. Sadly, this past March, his battle came to an end, leaving in its wake a heartbroken community of family, friends and coworkers.
So who was Jay?
- He was the kindest person with a passion for helping others.
- He knew the lyrics to any song ever written.
- His laugh was infectious.
- He could do a crossword puzzle in minutes.
- He was the most loyal and supportive friend.
Devastated by this tragic loss, his friends and family feel the driving need to ensure he will not be forgotten and his impact in the world endures. There was no lack of volunteers to pick up the baton and continue the race for a cure on his behalf. Many who knew Jay had never run long distances before they began training for their first marathons. As a result, more than $138,000 was raised by Team Jay at the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco on Oct. 20—more than any other team from around the nation!
Green Mountain is also sponsoring a garden for him on one of Jay’s favorite running paths, the Butler Trail at Lady Bird Lake in Austin. Each month, friends and coworkers meet at Jay’s garden to pull weeds, plant flowers, and add a little more beauty to a space that brought him so much happiness. It’s now a special place we can go to remember our friend, smile at a passing memory, and just say, “Hey, Jay. I’m thinking about you.”
Not everyone can run a marathon, but few who knew Jay were left uninspired. For some it manifested as support for those running in his name. For others the change was deeply profound. On a personal note, I can attest to how gratitude for my life, my family, and my friends has increased exponentially. My perspective on what is most important has been keenly refined. My quest to help others and be an agent of change has been re-energized, all because of my friend, Jay Taylor.
I miss him every day and unexpected triggers can painfully remind me how much I wish he were still here. Although I can’t visit his desk and ask him something about sports I don’t understand or infuriate him with my horrible taste in music, he’s still always with me and many others in this office.
If you make your way to Austin and find yourself walking around the lake, look for Jay’s garden under the Lamar pedestrian bridge. Take a moment to stop and think about someone you love who has gone ahead. Think about their life. Be inspired by their memory and unique time in this world. Then do something with it. Make a difference. Inspire change— like Jay.
(If you would like to help continue Jay’s fight against cancer, please consider supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training.)