Deena Morgan: A Survivor Committed to Raising Awareness
I’m a cancer survivor. I love and hate those words at the same time.
I was 11 years old when I found out I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After fighting a respiratory infection for a few months, my mom took me to see a pediatrician in Cypress who noticed huge swollen lymph nodes under my right arm pit. I had an appointment at MD Anderson the very next day. After diagnosis, I spent the better part of every weekend of my last elementary days on the bathroom floor, sick with nausea and waiting for Sunday night to come around when I would finally start feeling like a normal kid again and could get back to school.
Thanks to the experimental drugs I was administered, I can now stand here today a survivor. However, the anxiety of my cancer coming back doesn’t dissipate with age, it increases with age. Sometimes it’s the little triggers like a rubber band snapping reminding me of the tourniquet that my nurse would put on my arm to find a vein for my 6-hour chemo drip. Or it’s the tears that well in my eyes every single time I get blood drawn, confused if I’m more upset about the needle (they rarely hurt), the reminders of years past, or the fear of “what if this time something is wrong?”
A few years ago, I found out that my heart physically took a beating from the chemotherapy I received. The long term side effects of those chemotherapy drugs are still being studied. I went from a lifetime of being moderately active to a new lifestyle of running to keep my heart as strong as I can for as long as I can before more damage demands more drastic medical intervention.
Cancer has defined a part of who I am, but that’s not a bad thing. I love meeting other cancer survivors and hearing their battle stories. There’s an immediate bond and pride that comes with being part of the “survivor’s club”. Since my diagnosis, I have always been a supporter of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). This amazing organization helped my family financially during my many months of treatment in small, but meaningful ways. While it may not seem like a huge expense, helping us cover the costs of the MD Anderson parking garage was of tremendous value to my family, and something I will never forget.
Around three years ago, I began to give back to LLS financially so that I can help make a difference in the lives of families going through similar experiences as I went through. However, I am determined to not just be an LLS financial supporter. I want to honor those I know going through this disease and remember those that never made it. In 2015, I joined LLS Team in Training and this year, Light The Night Walk is just another way to get involved with the LLS. I have honored others in prior Light The Night events and will proudly carry a white lantern in solidarity with the other survivors. This year’s walk will be especially meaningful as I will be joined by my two sons and will be raising money alongside of my Gexa Energy colleagues.
I have been at Gexa for a little over 4 years and being at a company that truly cares about giving back has been incredibly rewarding. I’m so excited to be combining together my work in the energy business and my commitment to raise awareness for childhood cancer and lymphoma and leukemia cancers as we take on this Light The Night initiative.
Cancer doesn’t just touch one individual during treatment, it touches those around them for their entire life. Let’s raise money to put an end to it! Please consider helping me reach my fundraising goals by visiting: http://pages.lightthenight.org/txg/Houston17/dmorgan
As part of Gexa’s support of LLS, Gexa has announced an electricity plan for residential customers that will directly benefit LLS. Gexa will donate up to $50 to LLS for every new residential customer who enrolls on one of the EveryDay | EveryNight® Low Price Plans using the promo code HOPE. Customers can sign up online at www.gexaenergy.com/hope/ or call (855) 639-8573 and mention promo code HOPE.