Our beautiful daughter Taylor (pic attached w/Ed Sheeran) was diagnosed with a rare form of colon cancer when she was only 14.

She had many rounds of chemo, lots of surgeries, radiation, and literally hundreds of nights spent in the hospital.

She fought like a champion for five years, through two recurrences, and all the pain and hassle that you can imagine.

However, the whole time she lived by her motto:  “Choose Joy!”

She taught us that when bad things happen to you, you must feel your feelings, which she always did, but then you have a choice...

You could choose to hit something.  That would be a choice.

You could choose to lock yourself in a dark room and sulk.  Another choice.

Or you could invite your sorority sisters over to the hospital room, order sushi, and work on a funny jigsaw puzzle.  Another choice.

We would get incredibly bad news sometimes, and Taylor would cry and feel terrible, but then we would watch in amazement as she simply chose joy.

She would do things that would bring her (and all of us) happiness.  So we would go from hearing something like ‘...the cancer has spread from your colon into your breasts...’ to later that evening when the girls were working on the puzzle, laughing and loving each other’s company.  I would ask myself ‘...How did this happen???  How did we get from that terrible news to this joyous moment?’


It was Taylor. 









Remarkable!  How often does a 50 year old man learn invaluable lessons from a 14 year old?

Anyway, the teachers at her elementary school put her motto: ‘Choose Joy!’ in the school fence with plastic cups.  Incredibly touching, but they kept falling out and it would look terrible.

Finally I had enough and ordered some Put In Cups.  The first color we did was a bit dark, so we got a lighter blue for the main color and moved the dark blue to the outside trim color. 


I think it looks FANTASTIC, and it seems like it’s really going to stay looking nice.  Wonderful!

Taylor got to experience some incredible things, like going to Italy on a Make-A-Wish trip, meeting Ed Sheeran, and telling her story at a fundraising event in Delaware that raised over a million dollars for a pediatric cancer charity.   She graduated from Martin High School in Arlington, TX, then went to Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth, where she majored in Strategic Communications and joined the Chi Omega sorority.


Sadly though, two years ago Taylor passed away.

We are heartbroken, and we grieve every single day, but we’ve been taught that we have a choice what to do next....

We’re not as good at it as Tay, but we try to do our best and choose joy as often as possible.

She was a remarkable young lady, and this ‘Choose Joy!’ sign is a beautiful tribute to her and the invaluable lesson that she taught to so, so many people.


Thank you for reading all this, and thank you for the Put In Cups.  They look fantastic, and we never have to look at all the plastic cups laying on the ground and get frustrated.  It looks great, and it should stay looking great.

Have a great day today, and CHOOSE JOY!


-Bob Helland