My Story – Morgan Davis

Growing up I was the oldest of three younger brothers and I was raised to believe we should be private about our lives and our feelings, especially being a “lady”. Receiving a cancer diagnosis has shown me that being vulnerable about my experiences and real about my feelings is so important in times of hardship. Though I still sometimes find it challenging to share news that has the potential to make others sad or worried because I believe that a positive mindset is absolutely crucial for resilience. However, vulnerability is ultimately what led me to all the support I received from Kickin’Cancer and where I am now.

I moved to Oregon in 2019 on a scholarship to attend law school at Willamette University, but had to take a medical withdraw from law school when I got so sick I missed weeks of class. Things changed when I found a mass in my neck last fall. After many tests and self-advocacy, it was determined that I had an underlying auto-immune thyroid condition causing my symptoms and my thyroid to attack itself and creating this mass. My biopsy revealed that the mass was “abnormal” and surgery was an option. I took the option out of precaution based upon my family’s history with cancer, and had surgery at the end of June 2022 removing half of my thyroid. Convinced I was on the path of recovery, I received a call from my doctor about a week later letting me know it wasn’t over. The mass in my neck was cancer and I needed more treatment. The news hit me like a ton of bricks…

I was in shock. I had been doing everything that I thought I could to be healthy and prevent cancer. I thought to myself, I’m only 25 – what have I done wrong to have caused this to happen to me… I know that it wasn’t my fault, but I do fundamentally believe that without a doubt there is a relationship between our health and our emotions. More than anything, this diagnosis served as a reminder that life is unexpected and too short not to LOVE.

After the diagnosis, the really hard part came, telling my close friends and family. Seeing the looks in their eyes and hearing their responses was one of the most challenging things I’ve experienced. I knew I was going to be okay, but it didn’t make it any easier. The more open I’ve been about my journey the more support has just poured in. During this time, Baron Robison and the Kickin’Cancer organization had slowly made their way into my professional life. We had connected at a Chamber Greeters presentation and again at a Rotary meeting. He then started talking to me about getting involved on the Board of Directors for the organization. My first board meeting was three days after I was diagnosed with cancer.

One of the amazing programs Kickin’Cancer offers is called, Pathways. At our meeting, Baron shared a story about the brother of a cancer patient committing suicide, and how impactful mentorship and support can be for the siblings and children of those who have cancer. I hadn’t told anyone on the board about my diagnosis and after this story I broke down in tears in the middle of our meeting. I was so embarrassed but I had just had one of the most difficult conversations of my life with my younger brothers, who struggles with depression, the day before talking about my diagnosis. I was incredibly blessed to be wrapped in support from the entire board after sharing this news.

I feel lucky to have only been diagnosed with Thyroid cancer, as things could have been so much worse than they were. So when I found out that Kickin’Cancer wanted to dedicate a parade to me, I had a hard time saying yes. But I did and shared that my request was to call it, “Walk with Morgan” not “For Morgan” because this journey is so much bigger than just me. Cancer touches almost all of us in some way or another whether it’s those who love and care for me; those fighting a journey much harder than mine; or those we have lost because of this wild and unfortunate illness.

After two surgeries, hormone therapy, and lots and lots of rest, I can finally say that I feel better now than I ever have before. Receiving a cancer diagnosis drastically changed my relationship with myself in more ways than I can explain. More than anything, it showed me how to come “home” to myself. It showed me how to slow down and take care of my body, my mind, and spirit. It brought to light what is truly important to me, while learning how to ask and receive support.

Thank you to all my friends, family, colleagues, and even a few strangers for all your prayers, blessings, encouragement and support as I went through my health journey this last year. As strange as it may seem, I am grateful for getting cancer. There have been so many unexpected blessings that have come my way because of it and that’s what I’m taking away from this situation.