By Laura Saunders Egodigwe
Taylor Price is a Global Wealth Management intern at Merrill Lynch this summer. In itself, that is an accomplishment for any student, but consider that for the last four years, he has been working on resuming a “normal life” after a swimming accident left him quadriplegic.
At the time of the accident — July 8, 2004 — a date he and his father, Bill Price, a 31-year Merrill Lynch employee, vividly recall, Taylor had been weeks away from beginning his freshman year at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Taylor, then 18, dived into a calm ocean off Long Island, New York, something he had done numerous times in the past. This time, he hit his head on a shallow sandbar, breaking his neck and causing a severe spinal cord injury.
After the accident, Taylor, who is now 22, spent five months in rigorous physical rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, the largest spinal cord institution for young adults in the United States. He continued his therapy at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, New Jersey; the Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia; the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C.; and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in Miami, Florida.
One year later, he started college at Georgetown.
Taylor, a senior who expects to graduate in 2010, lives on campus with the help of a caregiver who helps him manage many aspects of daily life in his changed physical reality.
The finance and marketing double major has become an active member of the Georgetown community, which now includes his 19-year-old sister, Ellie. He has served as a student senator, co-chaired the Homecoming Formal and holds a job in the university’s Office of Communications and Protocol. This fall, he will be a liaison for University Affairs to the student body president, holding seats on Georgetown’s board of directors and the alumni association’s board of governors.
Taylor has also become an advocate for people with disabilities and runs a website dedicated to his activities. Through his involvement with the Christopher Reeve Foundation and other charity functions, Taylor has worked alongside many well-known celebrities, athletes and politicians. In his freshman year, he spoke on Capitol Hill to help introduce the Employer Work Incentive Act for Individuals With Severe Disabilities, a Senate bill that aims to encourage companies to increase the percentage of their workforce with disabilities.
“I’m so happy that I’m at Georgetown, knowing that I’m continuing on a journey that I was supposed to be on before my accident and something that many people told me could not be done. I’ve followed my goal,” Taylor said.
“There have been changes in the reality of life but it hasn’t all been bad,” he added. “A lot of things are harder and I do many things differently. I may not do them as quickly as everyone else, but there have been very few things that I haven’t been able to do.”
That includes becoming a summer analyst at Merrill Lynch headquarters in New York, where he split his eight-week internship between GWM’s Global Investments & Insurance Solutions group and the Private Banking & Investment Group.
“Taylor is an extraordinary individual,” said his manager, Director Jason Rich, chief administrative officer of PBIG’s New York office. “He has a very positive outlook and brings a fresh perspective to many of the items we work on.”
Mr. Rich added that Taylor’s “analytical skills and ability to build relationships with the people he works with make him an important part of the group.”
Taylor’s parents — Bill Price, a director of GMI Institutional Fixed Income Sales in New York, and Marnie Price — remain hopeful that with a medical or scientific breakthrough, Taylor will one day walk again.
“I know the hurdles that he goes through every day,” Taylor’s father said, “but he handles them with tremendous courage and determination and always with a smile on his face.”