IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

His wife is dying of cancer. How one Texas dad is preserving memories on TikTok

On Thanksgiving Day 2022, Taylor Odlozil shared his family's story on TikTok. Now, more than 500K people are following their journey.
Courtesy of Taylor Odlozil
/ Source: TODAY

Texas dad Taylor Odlozil knows his wife is dying. What he didn't expect was support from all over the world after sharing his family's story on TikTok.

Haley Odlozil, 30, was initially diagnosed with ovarian cancer one week before Christmas in December 2015.

"We were two months out from our wedding," Taylor, 31, tells "We found out in a matter of 10 seconds that she could never have children and that she was dying. It still makes me shake when I think about it."

The Odlozil family of Texas recently attended the Houston Rodeo.
The Odlozil family of Texas recently attended the Houston Rodeo.Courtesy of Taylor Odlozil

Taylor said Haley sat him down one week after her diagnosis and told him that he could "move on and find someone else."

"She was trying to let me know that I could leave if I wanted to," Taylor says. "I thought she was crazy."

After nine weeks of chemotherapy to shrink Haley's tumors, the couple married. But the week after their wedding, the couple was dealt a devastating blow.

"The doctor basically told us that the chemo did absolutely nothing and that the tumors didn't shrink at all. They actually grew," Taylor says, adding that Haley's doctor pulled him aside to give an even more grim prognosis. "That's when I found out she had six months left (to live)."

The couple went on their honeymoon and returned home to an optimistic referral from Haley's doctor: a surgeon in New York was willing to look at Haley's case.

"We got an appointment and he agreed to operate," Taylor says "The doctor did a nine-hour surgery and ... performed a miracle. He was able to remove 100% of visible cancer."

But Haley's cancer returned immediately after surgery and she has been battling the disease for seven years.

"She's been on chemo many times," Taylor says, adding that two years ago, Haley was given a colostomy bag. "It has been a fight."

Taylor Odlozil, with wife, Haley, and son, Weston, pose together during a trip to Park City, Utah.
Taylor Odlozil, with wife, Haley, and son, Weston, pose together during a trip to Park City, Utah.Courtesy of Taylor Odlozil

During a period of time where Haley's prognosis was promising, the couple, who had dreamed of becoming parents since they met, used the help of a surrogate to welcome their son, Weston.

"He is the most loving, caring little boy," Taylor says. "He is going to be what saves me for these coming months that are going to be pretty hard."

In October 2022, following a bowel obstruction, Haley's doctors told her she was out of options.

"She was past the point of surgery," Taylor says. "Even the surgeon in New York said 'I'm not going to operate on her again'."

On Thanksgiving Day 2022, Taylor shared the family's story on TikTok. At the time, he says he had around 200 followers.

"I'm losing my family and there's nothing I can do about it," he captioned a video featuring clips of Haley with Weston.

The video immediately went viral, racking up more than 19 million views as of early March from people all over the world invested in Haley's story.

Taylor tells the response has been "unbelievable."

"I just started posting regularly and it's just snowballed," he says. He now has a following of more than 500K people.

Haley Odlozil tells she hopes her family and friends know how much she loves them.
Haley Odlozil tells she hopes her family and friends know how much she loves them.Courtesy of Taylor Odlozil

Taylor documents sweet moments between Haley and Weston — like the young boy rubbing his mom's back while she vomits — as well as more emotional moments, like Haley recording her voice in a stuffed animal for Weston.

But Taylor knows time with Haley is running thin.

“Since October when we found out, she’s just slowly gone downhill and the last three weeks have been really bad,” he says, adding she has lost more than 60 pounds. “She’s barely eating (and) she throws up (about) 20 times a day now. It’s just terrible.”

The family’s TikTok page — as well as a personal archive of video footage — will eventually serve as a scrapbook for Weston after Haley dies.

"My wife's greatest fear that she talks about to me all the time is being forgotten," Taylor says. "She knows that life goes on (and) doesn't stop when you die. Everybody has to get up and go to work and continue on and and she's just so terrified of us forgetting about everything we've been through and forgetting about her ... and I'm not going to let that happen."

Taylor says Weston knows that "mommy is sick" and "mommy goes to the doctor a lot", but the 4-year-old "does not completely understand" what will happen.

"We ask him every day, 'When you can't feel or see mommy, where is she?' and he always says, 'My heart!'"

For Haley, each day gets more difficult. When asked what she hopes her friends and family know, she tells, “How much I love them.”

“It’s definitely not an easy thing to navigate, especially when you have a little one and amazing family and friends,” Haley says. “You don’t want to leave. That’s hard. But we’re trying to make sure that we make memories and there’s a lot of good moments.”

Related video: