Friends and family celebrate the granting of Taylor Nunez’s wish to model for Seventeen Magazine. From left: Hanan Galassini, Joe Vargas, Taylor and her parents, Dee Ann and Steve. (Tess Townsend Photo)
“They treated her and they treated us like royalty.”
That’s what Steve Nunez, 54, of Roswell, had to say about the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation recently granted his 18-year-old daughter Taylor’s wish to model for Seventeen Magazine.
Goddard High School senior Taylor went to dinner at her favorite restaurant, Red Lobster, with 14 family members and friends Thursday to celebrate her return from the trip to New York City. The dinner was donated by Red Lobster General Manager Hanan Galassini.
Taylor suffers from a ganglioneuroma, a rare variety of tumor that stems from nerve cells. Make-A- Wish fulfills wishes submitted by youth such as Taylor, who are diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions.
Taylor said her photo shoot experience as “amazing.”
The Friday shoot included three other female Make-A-Wish recipients. Taylor said it was nice to know she was with other people in similar situations, but added that she and the other models didn’t discuss their health issues.
“It’s kind of like a time to forget about all that,” she said.
Photos of Taylor may appear in Seventeen Magazine and will be posted on Seventeen’s website.
During the trip to New York, Taylor, her parents and brother visited tourist sites such as the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 memorial and Chinatown. She also brought home a suitcase full of clothes, jewelry, makeup and perfume given to her by Seventeen. All costs of the trip were covered by Make-A-Wish.
According to her aunt Flori Nunez-Torres, Taylor’s illness was “a blow,” especially because Taylor is a dancer.
Taylor’s mother, Dee Ann, said that before Taylor was diagnosed in 2010, she participated in Goddard’s dance team, in addition to performing jazz, ballet, tap and Irish dance.
Taylor had to drop many of those activities due to pain caused by her tumor and six major medical procedures that she has gone through since her diagnosis. She has continued to do tap and Irish dance.
She also has kept up with her schoolwork despite having to miss school frequently. Taylor will graduate with her class this spring and is applying for college. She expects to attend the University of New Mexico.
“She’s just been through so much. She’s just persevered,” said Dee Ann.
Joe Vargas, recreation supervisor for the Parks and Recreation Department, volunteers as a “wish granter” for Make-A-Wish and was present at Thursday’s dinner. He said the foundation grants the wishes of 20 to 30 Roswell youth between the ages of 2 1/2 and 18 each year.
If you wish to learn more about Make-A-Wish, call Vargas at 317-0118. Donations made to local chapters of Make-A-Wish go only towards local Make-A-Wish participants.