Morgan was my first child, born during my third year of training at University of Texas Galveston. Of course she was the smartest and prettiest girl the planet had ever seen (spoken from a true father). Within a few months we moved to California to start our new lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I was busy with a new practice, usually working 12 hour days between the hospital and the office. I made sure to make time for her every day. When I would come home she would start screaming with excitement as I chased her down the hall. This would usually end up with the two of us sitting in the shower splashing away and laughing. One of my favorite things to do was hold her down and count off her 7 tickle spots (chin, armpit, hand, belly, thigh, knee and foot). I was complete.
Morgan had been a little sick on and off for about a month. Sinus drip, irritable, seemed like normal kid stuff. Late one night I heard something coming from her room; when I ran in she was having a seizure. It was normally a 15 minute drive to the hospital, I made it in 7. My friend was the ER Doctor that night. He quickly stopped the seizure and we both talked about what the most likely source was; then the labs came back. We glanced at the labs and our hearts sunk, it was leukemia. Of the 4 types of leukemia it was the most lethal one, AML. Within an hour my precious little girl was on a helicopter to UC Davis Medical Center.
For the next 3 months we lived at UC Davis. It seemed like every step we took had a side affect that made her worse. The team worked tirelessly on her. the chemotherapy killed the cancer but her immune system never rebounded. We attempted bone marrow transplantation but could not find a matching donor in the USA or abroad. I personally reviewed her blood counts every day looking for new life to sprout from her bone marrow, that day never came.
After a brave struggle for 3 months her little body started to fail. Liver and kidney failure were worsening. She was in constant pain and IV narcotics were the only thing that kept her calm. Even holding her was a struggle. After a brutal self reflection I could not imagine putting this poor child through any more torture. We agreed that death was imminent so hospice was initiated. I felt her last breath on my face and she was gone.
For years I tried to support cancer groups and fund raisers. Every time I would start I had to stop because the emotions were too much. All I could do was put number 7 (her number of tickle spots) into every event I raced. Motorcycles, bicycles, SUP racing; I always had a number 7 with me. Nearly 20 years have passed. It has taken a long time but now I feel I can give back to the cancer community. This product/website/swag is all in an effort to help the cancer fight. I will be using at least 50% of my profits in supporting cancer education and research. I have no clue how much if any money I will raise, at least I can try now.
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