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Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • $1 million goal set for childhood cancer research in memory of Gavin Morris

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  • RIPLEY - Gavin Morris’ courageous, personal battle with Neuroblastoma ended on the morning of March 10, 2014, but his legacy and inspiration endures.
    His mother Tosha posted this on his official Facebook site that morning:
     “My baby Gavin became CANCER FREE this morning at 7:03 a.m. I knew He could do it all along. He never gave up… He didn’t know how to – it was not in him. I want everyone to know that he DID receive his miracle, long ago.
    “I want Gavin remembered for his handsome smile, contagious laugh, and his witty personality, his love for video games; His iPad and movies, his passion for cooking, his positive outlook on life; His wisdom beyond his years, his compassionate soul, his willingness to forgive, his thankfulness of EVERY God given day, and the simplicity and realism he brought to so many lives.”
    Gavin battled cancer for half of his all-too-short life with strength and courage that would make the superheroes he adored envious.  At the age of two and one-half, he was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells. In that valiant battle, he inspired and empowered literally thousands across his home county, state, region, nation and even the world.
    “Gavin Strong,” the image of the pint-sized namesake displaying a strongman flex, became the symbol and the rallying cry that energized literal thousands in support of Gavin’s personal cause and for the causes of children everywhere fighting cancer. And even as his loved ones struggle to endure his loss, they find themselves inspired to continue the battle for the countless children hoping for a cure and waging their own personal battles with cancer—Gavin Strong. For Tosha and Chad Morris and many, many more, the quest is for more than four percent of the federal $5 billion cancer research budget to be dedicated to childhood cancer.
    The family advocated for a goal of garnering 100,000 signatures through the organization, “The Truth 365,” to make childhood cancer research a priority. They reached that lofty goal. The family also embraced Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, founded by Alexandra “Alex” Scott, 4, whose mission is to find a cure for all childhood cancers.
    Now, Tosha Morris has set a personal goal of raising $1 million for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation through the Gavin Strong Fund for Neuroblastoma Research. All proceeds via this fund will be used for Neuroblastoma research. She has decided to share her goal publicly and go after it with the same courage and determination that her son displayed.
    It is the kind of pay it forward theme that has been displayed during and after Gavin’s courageous battle. His Facebook page and Gavin Strong website features hundreds of examples of people paying it forward in his honor.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I’m so grateful for all of the support my family has received on our journey, and I want to pay it forward more than anything in the world,” said Morris. “I cannot imagine a more personable, worthy cause than to help fund research for a cure for what took my own sweet child’s life! There’s nothing in this world I want more than to find a cure and stop this from happening to yet another innocent child.”
    However, Morris says she cannot do this alone. His Facebook page has over 7,000 members. If each member made a donation of $10 each month for one year, Morris’ goal could be surpassed—this is comparable to the price of one fast food meal, a movie ticket, a pizza. Money can be raised through a donation or a “Pay It Forward” event such as a lemonade stand, bake sale or other fund-raising event.
    Morris said that each hour of childhood cancer research costs about $50, so $1 million could fund nearly 10 years toward finding a new treatment, a new drug combination or even a cure.
    “All I’m asking for is help…to ease my own pain, the pain of others families affected by cancer—and the ones yet to find out their life will forever be changed by cancer,” she said.
    Since announcing her goal one week ago, feedback has already been amazing.
    “I’m not surprised,” she said. “Gavin brought families, friends, communities and even strangers together in so many positive ways. I am humbled by the number of people paying it forward in their everyday lives and helping me reach my goal.”
    You can join the Be Gavin Strong Facebook page. Donate to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation via the Gavin Strong Fund for Neuroblastoma Research.  Also, you can visit http://www.begavinstrong.org to learn more about Gavin and his battle. So far, over $11,000 has been raised.
    The image of Gavin Morris in his Superman gear, smiling, positive, undefeated against the odds with smooth dance moves endures and continues to inspire us all to pay it forward, to do good and to have hope.

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