Taylor's Story

Taylor Rae Nolan


The day Taylor Rae Nolan was born, her mother instantly knew she was a ray of sunshine with her olive skin, curly hair, and pretty red lips. She loved to play and - according to her family – was a little bossy from the very beginning. She spoke her first words at nine months and never stopped. She was a very determined young girl who could climb trees and ride four-wheelers with the boys and then put on a frilly dress and do all the things little girls sometimes do, too. She was that little girl who wanted to paint, and sew…and just do. She relished the time she spent with her Grandma, Granny, and Nana and grew into quite the story-teller that captivated others and made folks from all walks of life instantly love her.

Through her years, she became a leader and devoted sister to her three brothers. Taylor always wanted a sister, but she loved those brothers. She was, without question, the princess of the house. She often took on the role of mother and that turned into an unconditional bond and friendship with Clay, Colton, and Will. Later, Taylor was finally blessed with a baby sister, Ava, and in true Taylor Rae fashion, she mothered Ava, too.

Taylor was a sophomore at the University of Kentucky and was scheduled to start the first day of the second semester of her sophomore year. Her double major, Integrated Strategic Communications and Digital Media and Design had led her to a wonderful internship at iHeart Radio. She had the chance to meet and interact with notable musical acts and work alongside a variety of media and broadcast personalities. She was very excited to move into her new office and soak up the incredible opportunity.

On January 7, 2019, at the end of her Christmas break, Taylor moved back into the Chi Omega house. She had packed some of the new clothes she had found over the break with her mother. Her love of clothes and packing just the perfect wardrobe had become quite the family tradition. Her favorite blue, Salty Dog, crew neck sweat shirt was always in tow. She also had her new Cavalier King Charles, Rosie, with her. It was a perfect dog for a princess and it was her favorite Christmas present from a few weeks prior. She had just been on a rock climbing adventure with her boyfriend, Noah. The pictures she posted online of her life’s journey told the story of a beautiful girl with tons of opportunity and potential. Seemingly, life was not just good, it was the kind of good that every young girl dreams of having.

Indeed, it was Taylor’s mission to learn, and grow, and change the world. On the night of January 8, 2019, the world changed forever with her tragic passing. This was not the last chapter of Taylor’s life, though. Her family is committed to using Taylor’s story to help others who are struggling with mental health issues. The Rae of Sunshine Foundation, Inc. works to bring awareness, give back, and partner with schools, churches, institutions and any other groups wanting to provide supports and training that stresses the importance of mental health issues.

April 28, 1996 is the day the world was introduced to Taylor Rae Nolan. From the moment she was born, her smile would light up a room. The picture shared is a celebration of her 7th birthday party that she shared with her friends and her grandmothers. She wanted a "tea party" with real china. Students from Marion Co. FCCLA baked her cupcakes and all the little girls wore their best Sunday dresses. Taylor's 21st birthday is Tuesday, April 28. While there will be no pictures of her celebrating this birthday, her smile will continue to light up the world. If you have a "Rae of Sunshine" merch, wear it on April 28th and share her story. Taylor's birthday can be used to spread more smiles and positivity.

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