“A little soreness is just a symptom of a dual sport athlete.”
That was the thought that Diego Morris and his family had when the ten-year-old woke up with pain in his left leg and back in 2012. When the doctors diagnosed him, Diego’s family realized it was much worse. Osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, had spread throughout the boy’s leg, leaving his mother and father terrified.
“My world turned upside down. I couldn’t believe my little boy had cancer,” says Paulina Morris, Diego’s mother. “For two days I woke up thinking it had all been a nightmare, and I was relieved. Then reality set in, and I knew I had to be strong for my sons.” Jason, Diego’s father shared similar feelings, “All of the possible scenarios go through your head and you realize you must do whatever is necessary to save his life.”
The drug Diego needed, Mifamurtide (MTP-PE or MEPACT) wasn’t available in the United States, but had been approved for use overseas in England. The Morris family wasted no time, and made the move abroad to try to save their young son’s life.
“I did not want to move to another country. I didn’t want to leave my friends or my home,” Diego said. For nearly a year, the Morris family lived in London as Diego underwent treatment. To support the family, Jason traveled between his work in Phoenix and the lifesaving work he was undertaking for his son abroad.
Over time, his treatments took hold, and Diego’s cancer regressed. The Morris family then returned to Phoenix so Diego could start chemotherapy. The strength Diego showed at such a young age stands as a symbol to others struggling with a terminal illness. As a result of his courageous fight, Diego became the honorary chair for Right To Try in his home state of Arizona.
“I am so fortunate to be cancer-free,” says young Diego. “I want to help children who need medical treatment get the medicine they need at home. I want to help others.”
The Morris family went to great lengths to receive Diego’s lifesaving medicine. They know that few families will ever get the opportunity to do the same. With Right To Try they hope to change that.
“Nothing should stand between a terminal patient and a potentially lifesaving treatment,” Jason, says. “The alternative is to accept the unacceptable.”
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