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Taylor Olsen, victim of MLD, dies at age 5

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Taylor Rian Olsen, one of two twins afflicted by a rare disease, died on Oct. 24 at the age of 5.

Her brother Graham preceded Taylor in death last year.

A celebration of Taylor's life will be held today, Nov. 1, at 1 p.m. at Our Savior's Lutheran Church at 2000 Country Club Road in Lake Oswego. A reception will be held following the ceremony. Children are welcome to attend.

Born on July 16, 2002, to Ian and Kirsten Olsen of Lake Oswego, Taylor and Graham, at age 2, were diagnosed with the rare disease called metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD), a neurological disorder that affects the brain and nervous system. Over time, the children lost all of their skills.

In an article about the twins that appeared in the Lake Oswego Review in 2005, Ian Olsen compared the news of his children's condition to 'being hit by lightning,' and Kirsten Olsen said, 'It was the scariest thing in the world.'

Yet in the face of this tragedy, the Olsens strove to give as much care and comfort to Taylor and Graham as they possibly could, and they received a huge outpouring of support from family, friends and people who just wanted to help.

The Olsens coped with the situation by journaling their family's experience on a Web site, which also educated the public about MLD, a condition that strikes one in every 100,000 people.

In return, the Olsens said they were blessed by the twins they called 'our two angels.' In an obituary that appears in this issue of the Review on page A16, the couple told of finding peace and sweetness in the eyes of Taylor and of how she taught them the 'power of living purposefully with wisdom and innocence …'

The Olsen family owns Pizza Schmizza restaurants in West Linn and Clackamas.

To read more about the Olsen twins' lives, go to the Web site www.OurTwoAngels.com .