Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ADR logo.tif City, AMWA differ on future management of water supply

    The 57-year relationship between the Athens Municipal Water Authority and the City of Athens grew stormy in 2013 because of a disagreement over who should pay certain bills.
    The difference-of-opinion led to the Authority filing suit against the city last December, and the city responding by setting the wheels in motion that slated a May 10 election to decide whether to abolish AMWA.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 Easter.jpg Excited and ready

    Lexie and Isabella Hawkins are excited and ready for the Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at 9 a.m. in Kiwanis Park.  Bicycles, rabbits and lots of Easter Eggs will be waiting for you. Everyone is welcome, and of course the Easter Bunny will be there.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Those running for Athens City Council, AMWA board set to speak April 24

    City of Athens registered voters are encouraged to attend a candidate's forum on Thursday, April 24 at the Cain Center.
    Candidates for the Athens City Council and Athens Municipal Water Authority will each answer three-to-four questions from Athens Daily Review Editor Chad Wilson, who will serve as the event's moderator.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 Lloyd Mahaffey.JPG Eustace announces new basketball coach

    Changes are coming to the Eustace Independent School District athletic department.
    They approved the hiring of a new head girls basketball coach on Tuesday during their regularly-scheduled board meeting in former Tyler Robert E. Lee head coach Lloyd Mahaffey.
    Head girls basketball coach Doug Holloway will be leaving at the end of the semester after one year at the helm.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 TVCC Show.jpg Annual Spring Art Show, auction set for April 24

    Trinity Valley Community College is preparing for its annual Spring Art Show, and this year’s event will include a call to the community to participate in a special cause.
    The Spring Art Show will be held Thursday, April 24, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the first floor of the Administration Building on the Athens campus, 100 Cardinal Dr. 

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Special 5k walk, silent auction and bake sale scheduled for May 17

    Two fund-raisers have been scheduled to assist Trinity Valley Community College student Sasha Madsen, who was recently diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.
    Madsen, 27, is currently without insurance and getting treatment at MD Anderson in Houston. All proceeds from the fund-raisers will go toward medical, travel and lodging expenses for the Madsen family.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-17 tvcc2.jpg Special 5k walk, silent auction and bake sale scheduled for May 17

    Two fund-raisers have been scheduled to assist Trinity Valley Community College student Sasha Madsen, who was recently diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.
    Madsen, 27, is currently without insurance and getting treatment at MD Anderson in Houston. All proceeds from the fund-raisers will go toward medical, travel and lodging expenses for the Madsen family.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Possible drowning

    The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department were searching for a man on Wednesday afternoon who may have drowned in Cedar Creek Lake. 
    Sheriff Ray Nutt said his department responded to a call for assistance from the Seven Points Police Department concerning two men who were boating on the lake, and ran into trouble between Seven Points and Gun Barrel City.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Water authority is born

    It would be hard for anyone under the age of 50 to imagine East Texas without the abundance of lakes in the region, providing water and sources of recreation.
    Many of the reservoirs in East Texas today, were created in the years immediately following the dusty, dry, decade of the 50s, when drought conditions left Texas parched for water. The rainfall all but stopped at the beginning of the decade and by 1957, 244 of the state’s 254 counties, including Henderson County, had been declared Federal Disaster Areas for lack of rainfall.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0577.JPG Time with the Easter Bunny

    Six-year-old Mayven Ingalls is shown enjoying the company of the Easter Bunny  at the annual Kiwanis Club Easter Egg Hunt for Special Needs kids at Kiwanis Park in Athens on Wednesday. A coordinator said the event was for students from Athens Independent School District. Tootsie the Clown also helped in the effort to bring enjoyment to the children.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Twitter Updates