Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

February 7, 2013

Standing strong

Athens Intermediate’s Morrison marks five years free of cancer

Athens —

Thursday, Jan. 24, marked a major milestone for the principal of Athens Intermediate School. It was her fifth anniversary of being cancer-free.

The center of a celebration by students and teachers, alike, involved Ginger Morrison, who has been with Athens Independent School District for 20 years, first as a teacher, followed by other positions.  She is now the principal.

“My faculty and students wore pink in my honor that day,” she said. “They had lunch for me, and later gathered in the gym to celebrate my return. It makes me a little nervous when 500 students can keep a secret from me. But it was a nice surprise to walk in  and see them walking down the halls and into the cafeteria wearing pink in my honor.”

Morrison suffered through the experience of breast cancer. Even as she had to undergo the tough treatments, the biggest thing that helped emotionally over the long run was having hope.

“Kids came up to me and said they had a grandmother, aunt or someone else in their family who had had it. This time it was a way of offering hope to them,” she said.

Morrison said that when a person receives information that they have cancer taking over their body, it is “devastating news.”  At the time she was diagnosed, she was a 38-year-old wife and mom with six children.

Morrison said her husband, Michael — known by most around town as “Mo” — was probably more devastated than she was. He said he felt helpless, in that he wanted to take it away, but could not.

“My children came through it OK. They shared their struggles at school during the luncheon,” she said. “Their thoughts had been the ‘what-ifs,’ too. What’s going to happen?”

Again, hope is one of the big answers in Morrison’s mind.

“I want to be that light of hope for anyone going through this. Hope is what is needed to get through the struggle.”

“I felt good when I got back and noticed that the children had a little more hope that day. We, the survivors, forget to get that message out there. You want to know someone survives, because you so often hear all the horror stories about it.”

Morrison recalled that the faculty had gathered in the intermediate school gym five years ago when she was diagnosed, but before her surgery. She was out ill and unable to attend that day.

“When I returned, there was a banner on my wall in pink,” she said. “That’s why I wanted another celebration after five years. It was a celebration picture for me.”

Morrison had six “difficult” chemotherapy treatments the first six months and lost her hair in the process.

“It was draining of energy,” she said. “About the time you felt good, it was time for another one. After that (first six months), they couldn’t find anything.”

Morrison was happy about all the support she received during this difficult time.

“This faculty was so supportive,” she said. “They have been just the most amazing people to work with.”

Mr. Morrison said his wife is the “most wonderful woman in the world.” 

“I was the scaredest I have ever been in my entire life.  It was, for me, a total loss of control. I was lost,” said Mr. Morrison, who is vice president of operations at Cole Air Conditioning in Athens. “She never missed a beat, and it was tough.”

He complimented his wife for working on her master’s degree even as she was having chemo treatments and surgeries.

“She’s my hero. No question.  I wish I could deal with things only half as good as she can,” he said. “She really knows how to take it in stride. She simply put it on her list of things to do.  And then she did it.”

Deidre Pool, librarian at South Athens Elementary, Bel Air Elementary and Athens Intermediate School, said Mrs. Morrison is her “best friend.”

“We met about 20 years ago, and started as partner teachers.  We went to college together at UT-Tyler and now live across from each other,” Pool said.

Pool said she and the people she knew from AISD were “all devastated” when they first heard about the cancer.

“If anybody could go through it, and make it look better, she could. She was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside.  She is the strongest person I know,” Pool said.

Then came the day when Pool and her colleagues and students learned that the problems with the cancer were becoming a thing of the past.

“I was absolutely thrilled,” Pool said. “I remember the day she came back to school without her wig on. That’s the first day of true victory that we all felt. And I’ve been celebrating every day after her last bout with chemotherapy.”

Text Only
Local News
  • DSC_0127.JPG McDonald’s coming to Mabank

    The corner of North First Street and North Third Street in Mabank is about to look a lot different as a construction crew broke ground Monday.
    A formal ceremonial groundbreaking will be held within the next week to welcome McDonald's to the location just off of Highway 175.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Funeral held for 15-year-old drowned Eustace student

    Funeral services were held on Sunday for a 15-year-old Eustace student who drowned Thursday evening after diving into Cedar Creek Lake.
    The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office investigated the drowning. According to reports, a medical emergency call came to 9-1-1 shortly after 5 p.m. from Timber Bay in the Payne Springs area.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 PSCA open house.jpg PSCA seeks new student enrollment

    “Striving to make a difference in each child for eternity,” reads the motto of one local private school seeking new enrollment.
    Payne Springs Christian Academy is looking to enroll new students for the 2014-2015 school year.
    “We are in need of some kids this year,” said Amanda Beets, a mother of one of the school's current students.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Lightfoot-Miller Cemetery to dedicate historical marker

    The Texas Historical Commission, Henderson County Historical Commission and descendants of those who are buried in the Lightfoot-Miller Cemetery invite the public to the dedication of a historical marker at the property.
    The observance is set for 10 a.m. on Aug. 2.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 HCHS.jpg ‘Party for the Paws’ event great success

    The Henderson County Humane Society in Athens as well as  Beckham are continuing to celebrate results of the Party For The Paws fundraiser.  Beckham is a dog that was recently adopted from the HCHS.
    HCHS Treasurer Ellen Barton commends those who were involved in the event’s planning and execution. 

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0018.JPG Volunteers now needed for Athens Soup Kitchen

    Athens resident Terry Mayhall walked through the doors of the Athens Soup Kitchen asking if he could just volunteer. Mayhall now spends his Thursdays cooking soup for people who are hungry.
    Athens Soup Kitchen, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The mission is to feed those who are hungry. The facility that feeds 30 to 63 people weekly, opened its door in March 2014.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-26 Mike chamber.png Coston named chamber president

    After a diligent search, the Athens Chamber of Commerce Board has named Mike Coston president. 
    “The chamber board selected a search committee, which consisted of Chamber members, community leaders and business owners,” Ashley Adams McKee, Chairman of the Athens Chamber of Commerce Board, said. “Our committee knew that we wanted to take our time to find the most qualified person to serve as our new president. We had more than 10 applicants and in our first round of interviews we were all equally impressed and excited about Mike's experience and passion for chamber business.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Update on restaurant projects given

    City of Athens officials gave an update on some ongoing projects and financial information at a meeting on Wednesday.
    Director of Planning and Development Gary Crecilius said progress on the Cotton Patch Cafe has slowed considerably with the discovery of a possible environmental hazard. The restaurant is being constructed east of the Walmart store on East Tyler Street.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_3092.JPG HCPAC announces ‘Mattress’ sales

    Why would HCPAC be selling mattresses? Actually, the “mattresses” are tickets to “Once Upon a Mattress,” which opens Thursday, Aug. 7.
    The 26th Annual Youth Summer Musical stars 24 very talented area students, ages 10 through college, and tells the “fractured fairy tale” version of the “Princess and the Pea.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-26 CCL Rotary Celebrity waiter.jpg Gearing up for Celebrity Waiter event

    The Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake is gearing up for its annual Celebrity Waiter event. The Celebrity Waiter committee met on Thursday to discuss last minute items. The event is scheduled for Saturday, August 9 at Athens Country Club. This will be the 18th year the CCL Rotary Club has hosted the fundraiser. For ticket information call Erin Osborn at 903-887-7486.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo