February 2024

The Sacred Transition: Love, Loss, and Finding Purpose in Grief

To say working at JE Dunn changed the trajectory of Elizabeth Taylor’s life would be an understatement. It was here she met the love of her life and future husband, Marcus. It’s also where she became a widow determined to carry on his legacy of giving back.  

Marcus Taylor received a terminal cancer diagnosis in 2014 that motivated him to live a life without regrets. He spent the subsequent years inspiring friends, family, colleagues, and his new bride Elizabeth as he battled cancer with grace and tenacity, solidifying the legacy he would leave behind. A legacy that JE Dunn honors each year through the Marcus Taylor Inspiration Award. The inaugural award went to Marcus in 2017 and helped him see just how big of an impact he had on those around him. Recipients of this award are all in, choose love not fear, have a heart of giving, challenge those around them, live life with no regrets, are selfless, tenacious, and push the limits.  

Elizabeth wanted to embody Marcus’ giving spirit and help families going through the same situation. In 2018, a year after his death, she started a GoFundMe page with a $500 fundraising request and Amazon wish lists to buy items for cancer patients and their caregivers. When the response was overwhelming, Elizabeth decided to make it formal. In 2021, The Sacred Transition received status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and has raised around $250,000 to date.  

The Sacred Transition provides care packages meant to be ‘go-bags’ for treatment and unexpected hospital stays. These packages are curated intentionally with all natural, chemical free personal and self-care products and include a soft blanket, a mindfulness coloring book, journals, handwritten notes, and a plush elephant in a nod to Marcus’ favorite quote about taking on cancer: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” To date, The Sacred Transition has fulfilled 700 care packages.  

JE Dunn’s support of The Sacred Transition has been pivotal. Most packages are packed at JE Dunn events by employees. Additionally, 90% of The Sacred Transition’s donors are from or are connected to JE Dunn. “Where we are today, we would not exist if it wasn’t for the support of JE Dunn,” Elizabeth says.  

Molly Hermreck, a JE Dunn employee who sits on the board of The Sacred Transition, reflected on the importance of the company’s work, saying it “shows full circle how impactful our company is to the lives of employees and how much we do that goes beyond building places.”