SPRINGFIELD — Seven-year-old Morgan “Momo” Morris has been named the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for 2016-17. She will spend the next year with her family representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at events that include a trip to Walt Disney World and a congressional visit to Washington, D.C.
The recognition is in honor of the fighting spirit and determination that Morris used to battle her illness. In being selected for this award, she beat out every other pediatric applicant across Massachusetts. Morgan will be honored at an event Wednesday morning at the Springfield Marriott.
At just 2 years old, Morris was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “It started with a cold, then an ear infection that wouldn’t go away. She just kept getting more and more pale, weaker, and sicker,” said Laura Morris, Morgan’s mother. “Her pediatrician said this wasn’t normal and sent her for bloodwork. It wasn’t 24 hours before she was admitted to Baystate Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with leukemia.”
Added Dr. Matthew Richardson, the pediatric oncologist who cared for Morgan, “I remember she was just a toddler when I first met her. The bloodwork came back, and when I looked at it under the microscope, and I could see the leukemia cells circulating throughout her blood.”
After diagnosis, Richardson and his team immediately began transfusions and started chemotherapy. “It was crazy, a change of life in one day,” said Morgan’s father, Jeff Morris. “I truly believe she would not be here today if it were not for the amazing care and attention to detail that was shown to her then and now. Regardless of how sick she was, she loved going to the hospital.”
On Oct. 7, 2013, after two and a half years of chemotherapy, Momo received her last treatment and celebrated with her family. Today she is cancer-free and living life as a happy, healthy, 7-year old girl. She spends time caring for her cat, guinea pig, and dog, and also loves playing princesses, sports, and riding horses.