Taylor Leong has spent the past eight years serving sick-disadvantaged youth in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
When Leong was seven, her best friend, Erika, was diagnosed with cancer. Leong knew she could not take the cancer away, but worked hard to help bring a smile to her friend’s face. Leong would make homemade gifts and deliver them to her. Once Erika started feeling better, she spoke of the joy Leong’s visits and gifts brought, and the two girls decided to create their own toy drive; their mission was to visit with other children at local hospitals and provide gifts.
Unfortunately, Erika passed away two weeks before their first delivery was to start; it was at this time that Taylor decided to continue with her mission, and created “For the Love of Erika.”
Now at the age of 14, Leong has since expanded her toy drive. She works hard to bring joy to more than 8,000 children and families through her annual holiday toy drive, holiday parties, and visitations to children at local hospitals and shelters. Additionally, Leong supports other organizations that help disadvantaged children, including participating in the annual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk and donating her hair to Locks of Love and a non-profit that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
Over the years, Leong has enlisted the help of her family, friends, schools, community, and other local businesses to support her drive. She has collected more than $170,000 worth of toys that she has personally donated to six hospitals and 15 shelters throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She has worked with local businesses to host two holiday parties for six homeless shelters. Additionally, Leong has financially supported the victims of the tornadoes in Massachusetts, by raising $2,000, which she personally delivered to families hardest hit.