Young cancer survivor meets former Notre Dame quarterback

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 11:29 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - There is a buzz around South Bend this weekend ahead of the Notre Dame and The Ohio State game.

But inside the Aloft Hotel, there’s a special kind of excitement.

Herbie Taylor, a six-year-old from Chicago, loves chicken fingers. He loves football. And he’s been through a lot.

“His story started September 3rd of 2021,” said Rachael Navurskis, Herbie’s mom. “He was experiencing some very short-lived headaches.”

Rachael searched for answers from doctors. And finally, insisted on Herbie getting an MRI.

“She looked at me, and she said, ‘You have to get to the nearest hospital right now; there’s a big mass in the back of your son’s head.’”

Herbie was rushed into emergency brain surgery.

“He was wheeled away from us at 4 o’clock in the morning, and they were able to take out the entire mass,” Rachael said. “And then it was about four days later, they came in and shared the news with us that it was cancerous. It was a malignant brain tumor. It’s called medulloblastoma.”

The months that followed were hard, with six weeks of proton radiation to his brain and spine and a year of chemotherapy.

“We just hit nine months post-treatment for his MRI,” Rachael said. “His MRI was clear still.”

Herbie’s life is returning back to normal. He’s back in school, and he’s just really excited to be in South Bend.

He’s in town to meet former Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush.

It’s part of a special experience offered through Triumph Together, a non-profit that connects athletes with kids who are sick.

In addition to a free weekend at Aloft, Herbie got a behind-the-scenes look at Notre Dame Stadium, and the whole family will spend the day on campus on Saturday.