What is your child’s diagnosis, and at what age did they receive it?
Morgan was first diagnosed with medulloblastoma at age 2 and relapsed at age 4.
Can you tell us a little bit about your child – their personality, hobbies?
Morgan is truly a survivor. She has a happy, confident, compassionate spirit that always looks to find the good in things. She takes each challenge as a new learning experience and never lets anyone tell her she can’t do something. She loves life and loves the people in her world. She is passionate about helping others and is very involved in several community service projects and organizations that give back to others. She is currently a sophomore in college, studying social work. She hopes one day to work with children who have cancer.
If you are comfortable, share with us the feelings you had on the day your child was diagnosed?
I remember the day as if it were some weird dream or out of body experience. I remember the doctor saying that Morgan had a tumor in her head the size of a grapefruit and I calmly looked at him like he was crazy, thinking “Ok, well let’s get it out so we can all move on.” I had no idea how that moment change our lives forever. It wasn’t until we started the process at the hospital that I began to understand what we were up against and then the only thing I could think was, “What do we need to do to save my little girl?” My husband and I became laser-focused on not just saving Morgan’s life, but also making the life that she had as wonderful as we could. She was our world and we couldn’t ever imagine life without her. Thankfully, we have not only watched her survive, but also thrive.
How does CBTF impact both your child’s and your family’s quality of life?
The first time Morgan went to a CBTF event she found her other “home.” She loves being with the teens and young adults at CBTF because as she always says, “they get it.” Her trips to Camp Mak-a-Dream have been life changing for her. Each year she comes back more confident and full of even more life and energy than the year before. She has fostered life-long connections with other teens at CBTF, leaning on them for both fun and support.
What do you want the licensing community to know about the realities of childhood cancer?
The reality of childhood cancer is that it rips the life from children each and every day. Children who should be running in the park are instead being hooked up to chemo, children who should be meeting friends at a movie are instead meeting another doctor about a surgery, and children who should be embracing the joys, heartaches, and experiences that life has to offer are instead clinging on to the hope that they may be one of the “lucky ones” and get to survive. And even the children that survive never come out unscathed. Scars, learning disabilities, hearing impairments, physical limitations, emotional challenges, and depression are just a few of the things these children deal with on a daily basis. The reality is that we need to find a cure for this disease because every day some parent of a three-year-old finds out that their child may not live long enough to go to kindergarten, some teenage boy realizes he may not be here to ask that girl to prom, and some seven-year-old girl can’t meet with her friends to play dolls because she is too weak to leave her bed. This disease doesn’t just change lives, it destroys lives.