Gavin Morris of Manchester isn’t one of those 4-year-olds that shyly hides behind Mom and Dad’s legs when he meets a new person. He boldly strides up, starts talking and the next time he sees them, he remembers their name.
That’s why dad Tim Morris affectionately calls his son “The Mayor.”
“He knows everybody,” Tim said. “He’s the most outgoing, caring little boy that you can imagine. And the thing with him is, he’s genuinely interested in getting to know people.”
Gavin was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, on January 17. When a child has ALL, too many stem cells become leukemia cells and don’t fight infection well, according to the National Cancer Institute. When the leukemia cells increase in the blood and bone marrow, infection, anemia and easy bleeding can occur.
The Morris family was tipped off that something wasn’t quite right when Gavin’s body began reacting unusually.
“We started noticing some bruising that wasn’t explainable,” Tim said.
The family was at a birthday party and Gavin got bumped under the eye. That bump produced a black and blue mark that seemed far too extreme for how minor the bump was, Tim said.
“A few of those situations in a week and we thought, ‘we have to get him checked out’,” he said.
At first, Tim and his wife Lindsay thought Gavin might be anemic but the pediatrician conducted a check-up and sent him to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford that same day.
“That’s when we knew something was wrong,” he said. “The moment they told us, it was the most traumatic experience of our lives.”
Gavin takes all of this in stride and like the best mayors do, he reacts with calmness in the face of adversity.
“He’s very cheerful,” Tim said. “He’s made this whole process easier on everyone. Not once has he felt bad for himself.”
How You Can Help
On Wednesday, March 26, Landmark Cafe is donating 20 percent of its proceeds to the Morris family. The restaurant is located at 867 Main St., Suite 4, in Manchester, and is open from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Tim said the outpouring of support from the community is amazing. His wife grew up in Manchester and her parents worked in the school system for more than 30 years.
If you can’t visit The Landmark Cafe and would like to help out, donations may be sent to the family via Gavin’s Leukemia Fund page.“The outpouring of support is just unbelievable,” Tim said. “My wife and I are both moved by it. It’s unbelievable.”