By: Leah Johnson
August 24, 2009 the world was gifted with a healthy little boy. Tosha and Chad Morris named him Gavin Morris. He was Tosha and Chad’s center of attention. They didn’t love anything more than him. August 15, 2011 they had another son, named Greyson. He was also a healthy little boy.
In May 2012, the doctors thought Gavin had a bad ear infection. When his ear infection went away and the pain continued, Tosha immediately rushed Gavin to Charleston Area Medical Center. A cat scan revealed a tumor. He was sent to Columbus, OH for further testing. A bone marrow biopsy confirmed he had stage IV Neuroblastoma.
Stage IV Neuroblastoma is where a solid tumor during childhood arises in the nervous system outside of the brain. These patients are classified as having “high-risk Neuroblastoma”. This cancer is so severe and deadly that it often spreads to other areas of the body such as the bone, liver, lymph nodes, and skin. Neuroblastoma is one of the most popular types of cancer found in children and infants. Even though it is the most popular form of children’s cancer, there are only about 500 or so cases reported in the United States each year. And about 90% of those discovered are in children who are younger than the age of seven years old.
Gavin had his sixth and last round of chemotherapy October 17. On October 28, he was discharged from the hospital. Ever since Gavin was doing so well from his treatment he got to leave the hospital early. The family is asking visitors to stay clear from seeing him, until his next check-up to minimize germs for his weak immune system. The hospital has germs and illnesses from patients at the hospitals, and Tosha and Chad wanted him to recover at home for his weak immune system. Gavin was so happy to be home and to play with his little brother Greyson.
At the tender age of two and half, Gavin knew something wasn’t right when his life took a drastic change. However he knew he had to be “big and strong”. He started showing his strong man pose, which evolved in to the “Gavin Strong” pose. He loved seeing other people do the Gavin Strong pose and people started posting pictures on Facebook and spreading the word. This brought a smile to Gavin’s face. Tosha and Chad’s goal has always been to show Gavin that he has a ton of support, love and prayers following him through his courageous fight. They also want to bring awareness to Neuroblastoma and more generally to childhood cancer. Gavin has shown such bravery and been an inspiration to so many people. Tosha and Chad feel so blessed to have such a wonderful community to support him in his battle. They want to thank all of the people that have prayed or have done anything for little Gavin. They also said thank you for brightening his day and helping bring awareness to this terrible disease.
Ripley High and the community have done so much for Gavin Morris. The community has done fundraisers to help pay for the hospital bills, they have had benefit golf tournament, they’ve had a big yard sale raising money, and eat at Bob Evans and discount 15% to him. Our community loves helping Gavin. The family even has a website where you can buy things that have the saying “Gavin Strong”. Ripley High is trying to get Taylor Swift to sign items so we can make money for Gavin. The high school made a Youtube video about it and had everyone tweet Taylor Swift. The week of spirit week, we had a Gavin Strong day/superhero day; most of the school wore something about Gavin or something superhero. Everyone Be Gavin Strong!