Saving Other Taylors
A mom shares her raw, blunt, personal story about losing her 19-year-old son to drugs through YouTube videos aimed at reaching teens, teaching parents, and raising awareness about drug abuse.
Nancy Dana lost her 19-year-old son Taylor to a drug overdose and now she wants to help others by raising awareness about teen drug exploration and abuse. Through a series of YouTube videos, Nancy and her sons, Logan and Austin, talk candidly about their experience with drugs, what it did to their family, and what it potentially could do to yours. The Dana family tells the hard stories…from the horror of Logan finding his older brother and best friend dead in bed, to Nancy identifying her son’s remains in the morgue…from realizing that many of the young mourners at Taylor’s wake were high, to the wall of denial Nancy slammed into when trying to talk to the parents of her son’s friends. In these videos, Nancy and her sons talk openly and honestly about the ravages of drugs.
By sharing their insight into the downward, fatal spiral that is drug addiction, the Danas hope they can glean something positive from Taylor’s path. They hope the story of Taylor’s death might save another life.
Please help fund this project so that Nancy can hire a professional videographer to produce these life-saving videos.
More on this project: Taylor’s wake, couched as a celebration of his life, attracted an overflow crowd. Even though some hadn’t seen him in years, friends from all stages of his life came to support the Dana family. At the end of the evening, Nancy gathered the crowd to say a few words about her son. What began as an unrehearsed, unscripted reflection of his life turned into a powerful plea to those in the room, specifically his friends, to stop using. The crowd was mesmerized. Afterwards, some of Nancy’s friends realized that her appeal was so poignant and moving, that they encouraged her to try to reach a wider audience with her insight and experience. These friends formed a small support group and decided that creating a series of YouTube videos would be the best way for Nancy to spread her message and work on her mission to save other lives. She doesn’t want other families to endure the heartache and loss that she lives with everyday.
More on Taylor: Taylor Dana was the child his parents had dreamed about. They struggled with infertility for 10 years before he was conceived with the aid of invitro fertilization. He was a good kid; a loving son, a protective older brother, and a generous friend. He grew up in a close-knit community outside of Washington, DC playing on neighborhood soccer and swim teams. He earned a black belt in Tai Kwon Do at the age of 8. A gifted singer, he sang with the All Saint’s Episcopal Church Choir and appeared as a 12-year-old in Washington National Opera’s productions of Madame Butterfly and Tosca. Taylor was popular, athletic, and talented. It was when he started high school, at one of the finest public high schools in Montgomery County, Maryland, that he got his first introduction to drugs. His first taste was not cigarettes, alcohol, or even marijuana. It was Triple C, Coricidan Cough & Cold, an over-the-counter cold medicine that when taken in high doses can cause hallucinations and euphoria. Taylor’s parents soon became aware and intervened, but Taylor liked the “high” and found a way to continue exploring. As he slid deeper and deeper into the drug world, Taylor quit all the activities that had once defined him, playing on the high school football team and participating in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets. Then he dropped out of high school all together and began to deal drugs to support his habit. He had one brush with the law when he turned 18 and was ordered to rehab. He went willingly, knowing he had a problem and he enjoyed his sobriety. He was proud of his accomplishment and truly wanted to be clean. But, the addiction soon took back over and Xanex had a hold of him. Taylor hated his addiction. He often said the only way off Xanex is rehab or death. He tried to detox himself, going cold turkey on his mother’s couch while suffering bouts of nausea, hot and cold sweats, shakes, and insomnia. It took 2 weeks before he could eat, but he did it. He was so proud. Sadly, his addiction sucked him back in. On September 11, 2014, Taylor was found dead in his bed. The toxicology report revealed that he died of a lethal amount of Xanex and a small amount of methadone – a drug used to help addicts get off other drugs. It was later discovered he had gotten the drugs from a “dirty” doctor in Washington, DC. He had no other drugs in his system. He had just turned 19.
More on Nancy: Nancy Burden Dana is a mom of 3 boys. Originally from Washington, DC, she was reared in Chevy Chase, MD and went to the same high school that her sons attended. She studied law enforcement, justice and psychology. She is a certified Public Information Officer with a background in communications and public education. An efficiency and organizational expert, she founded her own space management firm, From Chaos to Calm. She has also reorganized and managed a Red Cross Volunteer Program of more than 400 volunteers at the National Naval Medical Center. As well, she has worked as a 9-1-1 Operations Specialist who developed a public education plan and social media campaign to implement a program for texting to 9-1-1 in Texas.