Taylin McGill has endured more in her young life than most do in a lifetime.
As a newborn, the 15-year-old from Tsawwassen was diagnosed with salmonella bacterial meningitis, a rare and serious infection in the brain that caused swelling and severe seizures. By seven Taylin had endured 14 brain surgeries.
Despite her significant struggles, her positive, energetic attitude has never wavered. Her impact on others - including the hundreds of doctors and hospital staff she's touched - led to her being named the 2016 Children's Miracle Network Champion Child ambassador for BC Children's Hospital.
She is also a dedicated Vancouver Canucks and Brock Boeser fan, so when the Air Canada Foundation learned of Taylin's story, it decided to use its partnership with the Canucks to do something special.
Earlier this month Taylin received a video message from Boeser inviting her to be his and Air Canada's special guest at the Canucks’ Nov. 17 game against Montreal.
The day started with Taylin and her family having lunch inside Rogers Arena with former Canucks Kirk McLean and Brendan Morrison. Air Canada surprised Taylin with a new Canucks jersey with her last name and favourite number, 33, on the back. After lunch Taylin and her sister got to fist bump the Canucks as they came out of the dressing room and took to the ice.
Once the game started Taylin and her family sat in the front row.
During the first period Taylin's story was shown on the scoreboard, after which she and her whole family were surprised with a trip to see the Canucks play the Sharks Feb. 16 in San Jose.
“I'll never forget this day,” said Taylin. “I didn't think things could get any better, and then all of a sudden I learned that I get to watch the Canucks play in San Jose. I was still overwhelmed when the game ended, and someone from the Canucks invited me to come to the dressing room with them.”
At the dressing room, Taylin was greeted by Boeser, who gave her a signed jersey and a tour of the team's practice facility.
Air Canada Fan Flight is run in partnership with all seven Canadian NHL teams.
The program sees dozens of Air Canada employees - from flight attendants to pilots to ramp crew - interact with fans at select games and surprise inspiring fans like Taylin with flights and tickets to see their favourite Canadian teams play on the road.
“Taylin has made an incredible mark in life, and we're so pleased to celebrate her story and to have her join us for the Vancouver Canucks Fan Flight experience," said Andrew Shibata of Air Canada. “Our employees were truly inspired by how Taylin sets an example of positivity and strength for those around her, no matter what difficulties she's facing. We try to build our airline on values like those displayed by Taylin - values that define Canadians.”