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Vigil honors former student behind ‘Choose Joy’ mantra


022118_TMB_HellandVigil .mov from TCU Student Media on Vimeo.

This February 20 marked the second year since Taylor Helland died from colon cancer her sophomore year at TCU.

Dance Marathon, held a vigil Tuesday night to remember her and her mantra, “Choose Joy.”

“Every day that she was in the hospital she would have a decision to make: she could be miserable and upset, but every day she just chose to be happy,” Julia Helland, Taylor’s mom, said. “She smiled and she always thanked everybody for helping her at the hospital and it just sort of evolved into choosing joy every day.”

The slogan continues to inspire others to live more like Helland.

“When you get overwhelmed with something little, then you think back to these struggles that Taylor pushed through and that she stayed positive the whole time,” Maddy Lewing, Chi Omega Make-a-Wish chair, said. “She was still choosing joy the whole time and I think that’s such an inspiration for me in my daily life.”

Claire Hargis, one of Helland’s best friends, gave a speech during the vigil about how people can live in honor of Helland.

“The world would be a better place if we were all just a little bit more like Taylor Helland,” Hargis said.

The vigil isn’t the only way she is being remembered on campus.

Dance Marathon is also honoring Taylor during the twelve-hour dancing event that raises money for Cook Children’s Hospital. Their mantra is “We dance for those who can’t.” Dance Marathon has honored Helland since she died the morning of the event in 2016.

“It’s so important to us that she’s not forgotten and these wonderful people here make it to where she’s loved and supported,” Helland’s mother said. “It just makes our heart so happy.”

“Choose Joy” T-shirts are often seen around TCU’s campus as a way to honor Helland.

“Remembering Taylor is something that I think is so prevalent at TCU’s campus because of the impact she made on so many people,” Hargis said. “Being a senior now, two years later, it’s the most humbling, amazing feeling to see that her legacy is still living on at TCU.”

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