What’s the most indulgent thing you’ve ever done for your birthday? Checked something off your bucket list? Or bought yourself something really expensive? This week, Austinite Taylor Thompson turns 17 and he’s decided to go all out on a spending spree.
Normally, birthdays at the Thompsons’ are low-key celebrations. The family doesn’t even blow up balloons.
This year, however, Taylor Thompson will be spending $170,000 dollars to celebrate his birthday. He announced his plans over the weekend in Austin.
“This day is not about me,” Thompson says.
Confused? To explain, Taylor took me to a quiet place for a chat.
“So, right now we are in the Chapel at St. Andrews Episcopal School in Austin – I feel a special connection to this place just because in October of 2014 when my mom passed away, her celebration of life was here,” Thompson says. “And so, every time I sit in the pews, I feel like I’m with her. I don’t know, when I’m here I can feel that calmness, I can feel like ‘Just settle down Taylor – it’s going to be OK.'”
Maureen Thompson, Taylor’s mom, was 50 years old when she died of breast cancer. The family was devastated, but Taylor says his dad, Gary Thompson, sat Taylor and his sisters down and told them about a plan for them to channel their sorrow.
“We don’t have to change everything. We just have to change our one thing,” Gary Thompson said. “And if everybody does their one thing, then we indeed can change everything.”
The one thing Taylor Thompson decided to do to honor his mother was find the funds to build a home for a family in need.
He partnered with Austin’s Habitat for Humanity. It takes $85,000 to build one Habitat home. When people heard Taylor was doing this to celebrate his mother’s life, they pledged enough for more than one house. Now he’s looking to build two homes. Kendra Scott, the Austin-based jeweler, is also hosting a fundraiser for Taylor’s cause.
On Saturday, Taylor helped erect the first wall of the first home.
That’s the first wall of what will be the first home Annette Lopez will own.