Wednesday , December 20, 2017 - 5:00 AM
RIVERDALE — Despite the Grinch who stole a package of life-saving medicine from their front porch, a Riverdale family is thankful for their surprising source of holiday cheer: an insurance company.
It’s not quite a Christmas miracle, but the insurance company did bring good news for 4-year-old Austin Taylor, who has struggled since before birth with kidney failure and underwent a kidney transplant two years ago.
Monday, Dec. 18 — exactly a week before Christmas — a three-month supply of Austin’s anti-rejection medications, valued at $5,000, was stolen from the family's doorstep, according to his father, Cody Taylor.
“It’s sad that things in the world have come to the point that someone would steal a little kid’s medication,” said Tayor’s sister, Brittnee Taylor Fisher of Washington Terrace. “He’s such a fighter, and it’s sad that something like that would have to happen to his family.”
The Taylors have had a lot of medicine delivered to the house since Austin’s transplant, but this is the first time any have gone missing. And it was the worst package to disappear.
“Anything else I could have replaced with just a couple hundred dollars,” Taylor said.
Had insurance not agreed to fund a new supply of the stolen medicines by Friday, Taylor said he would have had to take out a loan on his SUV to replace them.
And the price of a delay in Austin receiving his medicine could have been much worse than any monetary value, Taylor said. It could have created a life-threatening situation.
“It could have caused him to have kidney failure,” Taylor said.
Taylor posted about the crime on his Facebook page Monday, hours before learning his insurance company would replace the medicine.
He was surprised to receive so much support from friends and the community.
“I put that posting out there so people would be aware. People are stealing packages,” Taylor said. “My whole intention was to get it back.”
Taylor’s post included a promise not to install a camera until after the medicine was returned.
One woman said Taylor could have the medications delivered to her business in the future. A man suggested Taylor use a post office box for upcoming deliveries. Many others expressed remorse that such crimes happen, especially at Christmastime to a family already faced with hardships.
“Nothing worse than thieves,” South Weber resident Debbie Archer wrote in her response. “Could have been detrimental to his health.”
“I have this fear every time I have my daughter's diabetic supplies delivered,” said Tara Vining of Ogden.
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LARGE MEDICAL BILLS
Taylor estimates his son’s medicines cost $45,000 a year. The boy’s total medical expenses added up to more than $250,000 last year, he said.
While much of the cost is covered by insurance, there still are medical deductibles and co-pays as well as travel and time-off expenses for the single father.
“I’ve had to burn through all of my leave throughout the year for doctor’s appointments and hospital visits,” Taylor said.
While he’s well paid at his job, where he uses ultrasound to inspect for defects in aircraft engine parts, he doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room in his budget thanks to his son’s condition, he said.
Taylor said his two children are receiving a “sparse” Christmas from him this year. Austin is getting dinosaur toys and his sister, Destanee, 5, is receiving art supplies. Both will benefit from a DVD player that can play in their car.
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The missing medications are just the latest in a long list of trials throughout Austin’s life.
Taylor said his son’s medical condition dates back to before he was born.
His 20-week ultrasound revealed a urinary blockage that doctors said eventually would back up into his kidneys, Taylor recalls.
“We kind of had to watch that happen in the womb,” he said. “We found out he had more and more problems.”
When Austin was born, he was rushed directly to Primary Children's Hospital.
He received five surgeries in three months and was able to avoid dialysis until he was 2 1/2 years old, Taylor said.
Shortly after he started dialysis, he received a kidney transplant and has been on anti-rejection medications ever since.
While Austin’s life journey is difficult, Taylor said it’s rewarding.
“We’ve seen miracles when it comes to him,” Taylor said. “He was not supposed to live through birth. Yet he did. They said he would never last a month, and here we are four years later.”
Doctors said Austin would not ever walk or talk, Taylor said, yet he does both.
“Every milestone he overcomes against all odds is the most amazing thing to watch,” Taylor said. “I think that’s why it is so rewarding. It fills me with happiness to see someone who was not supposed to live just prove everybody wrong.”
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