“We wanted to give young children battling cancer the preschool experiences that Morgan was deprived.”
— Rod (Morgan’s Father, Co-Founder and President of THE MORGAN CENTER)
Morgan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 2 in October 2000. In addition to the primary concern, battling cancer, due to chemotherapy treatment, Morgan had a suppressed immune system, and therefore could not interact with other children.
She was truly affected by the lack of opportunity to socialize in a formal learning environment. Morgan and her mother were confronted with the unfairness of her situation every Tuesday for two and one half years on the way to Schneider Children’s Hospital. On these days,they would drive by the preschool Morgan was supposed to attend and would pass all their friends making the turn to take them there. Morgan and her mother were instead heading straight. Straight to the hospital on a path they did not choose. And while Morgan faced painful finger sticks, needles, shots and horrible medications, her friends went to school to learn, to play and to have fun.
Morgan could not be part of their world; she could not go to preschool, because the chemotherapy she received to save her life suppressed her immune system to the point that a simple childhood disease, illness or infection could be life threatening to her. For her own safety Morgan spent her next two and one half years having minimal contact with the outside world. While children her age went to preschool and to birthday parties and played with their friends; Morgan basically went from her home to the hospital and back.
Because of her lack of socialization, Morgan needed play therapy and child psychologist sessions throughout treatment. Realizing what she was missing, and how important her cognitive development was, Morgan’s mother, Nancy, began to teach her at home. Morgan’s parents were fortunate to be able to hire a tutor to work with her as well. This was the only preschool experience Morgan could have.
Then one day at the hospital while Morgan was playing with another child, both of them waiting to see their doctor, Nancy realized that this was OK, because they both had suppressed immune systems. It occurred to her that there should be a place where children with cancer can learn, socialize, and have fun together without the risks. But nothing like this existed. This was the beginning of THE MORGAN CENTER.
In May of 2003 Morgan finished her chemotherapy treatment and was in full remission. In September of that year, Morgan began kindergarten and two weeks later her parents, Nancy and Rod, opened the doors of THE MORGAN CENTER for preschool age children with cancer. As the co-founder, director and teacher of the center, Morgan’s mother, Nancy wants to give children with cancer the preschool experiences that Morgan and many children like her had been deprived.
“Morgan is an honor student and athlete at Bay Shore High School, and is cured of cancer”