North Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- In the 12 months that have passed since Taylor Fleming's death, there have been thousands of notes, phone calls, visits, and stories shared with her family. Her parents, Michelle and Dan Fleming, say each message has helped them face the next year with an open heart.
"People message me all the time. People tell me they did something and they thought of Taylor when they did it and it makes me happy," explained Michelle Fleming. "The one thing we hope is that people will carry on her name by doing something nice for other people like Taylor did."
The 17-year old was known around school for spending free time with special needs kids, a passion she'd hope to turn into a career. Fleming was on the way home from a night of volunteering at a local school when she veered into another driver's path. After using 70 units of blood in the hospital, the teen was removed from life support three days after the crash.
"There were a lot of things we didn't know about her, that she did at school, that she never came home and bragged about, that we found out about after the fact,” said Dan Fleming.
On Monday, a wooden cross appeared near the crash site on Northern Boulevard -- a replacement for an old memorial in median that was recently removed by the Onondaga County Department of Transportation after it was deemed a safety hazard.
A wreath hangs below the street sign with blue flowers, Taylor's favorite color. The new cross, with her named etched in blue, is far enough from the road that DOT crews don't anticipate having to remove. Taylor's parents say they didn't place the cross there, but the gesture brings their family a little peace when they have to drive by the crash site.
"Hearing the nice stories about her, it just keeps us going and that's what makes me worried that someday it is going to stop," said Michelle Fleming. "It's hard to think that people are going to forget about somebody who means so much to you.”
Dan Fleming was most touched by the calling hours arranged at Thomas J. Pirro Jr. Funeral Home. He calls the night a beautiful send-off for his daughter, with moments that still soothe him a year later.
"A lot of tears, every single day. There's not a dry day in my house. It is difficult. Without her friends coming around and family members, we would have never gotten through this," Dan said.
Carrying on that spirit of giving makes the future seem more bearable. A support fund was set up at Solvay Bank several months ago. The money raised will provide a scholarship next summer.
On January 4, from 12:00-6:00pm at Driver's Village, the family is supporting a blood drive in Taylor's memory, an effort to pay back all the donations used to help their daughter while she struggled in the hospital.
"I do it for my other four daughters and my husband. I know it is what Taylor would want and I want to make her as proud of me as I am of her,” Michelle continued.
To sign up for the blood drive call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit www.redcrossblood.org