PREP BASEBALL

HILLARY SMITH: Crown Point catcher's family learns of perseverance

2013-04-28T20:00:00Z 2013-04-28T21:12:12Z HILLARY SMITH: Crown Point catcher's family learns of perseveranceHillary Smith Times Columnist nwitimes.com
April 28, 2013 8:00 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | Bobby Morgan told his mother, Kathy, that he'd be honored on the baseball field before the Lake Central game on April 9 for selecting a college.

That didn't sound right to Kathy, but it was another good reason for her to go to a game.

A balmy 69-degree day sitting in the sun watching baseball was all the reason she really needed.

Eight months earlier, the Morgan family's world was turned upside down. As Bobby was in the midst of a summer baseball season, Kathy was at the pool with an older daughter and grandchild. Her eyes rolled back and symptoms of a stroke suddenly set in.

she was sent to the University of Chicago and diagnosed with nasopharygeal carcinoma, a rare form of cancer to which Kathy had no accompanying traits.

"Typically, if you are a Chinese man, over 65 and a heavy smoker and drinker, you get this rare kind of cancer," said Bob Morgan, Bobby's father. "She is none of those."

While Bobby headed into his senior year, Kathy headed to seven rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. For each one, she spent six days in a hospital bed, hooked to a radiation machine trying to shrink the cancer mass that was near her nose and brain stem.

"There were days I wanted to go home," Bobby Morgan, the Bulldogs' starting catcher, said. "I, of course, wanted to be there for her. It's tough; it's still really tough."

Bobby would finish winter open gyms and eat dinner at his friends' houses, or be carted to and from baseball practice in someone else's car.

"The whole Crown Point baseball family really is a family," Bob Morgan said. "They did more than we ever, ever expected. They went above and beyond."

Kathy's radiation ended Dec. 14, in time for Christmas. She'll need CAT scans every three months for the next year, and the latest one showed the mass was gone.

The work isn't over. The effects of the radiation include blocked nasal passages, hearing loss, continued dry mouth and the loss of her taste buds.

She learned with a CAT scan two weeks ago that her bone has begun regeneration. It is healing itself, and that's the positivity that Kathy holds onto.

Kathy said that reaching her son's senior baseball season kept her fighting through each painful radiation treatment.

"He made me stronger," Kathy said. "I wanted to see him play through his senior year. He gave me something to shoot for."

So when Bobby told the little white lie that he'd be honored before the last Lake Central game, he was making sure his mom was available for his team to honor her.

She was pulled onto the field before the game, took pictures with the team and received a plaque signed by all of the coaches and players.

It reads exactly what Bobby felt: "May we learn from your strength and courage that we may also persevere."

"The team recognized my mom for being a hero," Bobby Morgan said, "my hero really."

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach her at hillary.smith@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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