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Tess Koppelman, Fox 4 News, Kansas City
1/31/2006 8:10:11 PM
Fundraiser Held for Sick Olathe Girl
Olathe, KS - Up until a month ago, 12-year-old Morgan Mead was a shy, quiet 7th Grader at Prairie Trail Middle School in Olathe. But then one afternoon over winter break, she fell asleep and didn't wake up. Doctors say Morgan has 20 blood tumors, called Cavernous Hemangioma, and the biggest one is right on the brain stem, making it inoperable and even potentially deadly.
Morgan can't move or speak, although she blinks her eyes to communicate with her parents and her six brothers and sisters. It has only been a month, but the medical bills are already starting to pile up. The family didn't have health insurance at the time this happened. Morgan is on Medicaid now, but it only pays for so much. The family has to make their home wheelchair accessible and buy lots of medical equipment out of pocket.
When her classmates at school heard about what happened, they wanted to help Morgan and her family. They're having a fundraiser called a Coin War. Each grade competes against the other to raise the most money in coins, and they can deduct points from other grades by putting bills into their jugs. The 9th graders were glad, but also upset to hear they had 200 dollars in their jig. "It means we're going to lose," Kasey Jewett, 9th grader, said. But no matter who wins or loses, Morgan has won over the support of all her classmates.
The coin war is going on at Prairie Trail Middle School until the end of the week, and they'll have the donation jars at the school's band concert and basketball games this week.
This is from the Olathe news, Olathe, Kansas 2-4-06
Girl battles brain tumors
By Kevin Selders, The Olathe News
Morgan Mead, seventh-grader at Prairie Trail Junior High School, went into her winter break hoping to relax.
Instead, she is fighting to live.
Morgan, recently diagnosed with the genetic vascular disease cavernous sinus hemangioma, has 24 "blood tumors" in her brain, some of which have robbed her of her mobility and speech. Within the last month, the Meads, who have six other children, have taken on the 24-7 care of their daughter.
Along with mounting medical bills, the family faces the daily threat of one of the blood tumors bleeding, which could be fatal. However, Morgan shows signs of progress.
"She's a little better every day," said her mother, Clarissa. "She's starting to at least move occasionally and trying to learn how to reuse those muscles some time. Every day she's a little bit better than the day before."
Morgan is aware of her environment, but unable to talk or move her arms or legs. She communicates with her family by moving her head in a "yes" or "no" fashion, clenching her eyes in laughter or sighing when she needs something.
Unable to use a portion of her throat, she is fed through a tube in her abdomen. She is expected to have physical, occupational and speech therapy done to help her recover.
"Doctors are treating her like a stroke patient," her mother said.
The first signs that something was wrong weren't serious. Morgan showed flu-like symptoms while at home, which eventually subsided. Then one night she went to sleep and her father couldn't wake her up. Her pupils were fixed and the once-active girl wasn't responsive.
Morgan was taken to Children's Mercy South, where they discovered she wasn't breathing efficiently and she was placed on a ventilator. Once doctors determined she was critically ill, she was transported to the Children's Mercy in downtown Kansas City, Mo. where a CT scan and MRI were conducted.
The first mass, the size of two golf balls, was discovered as well as a build up of spinal fluid. After doctors drained the fluid, they found a total of 24 blood tumors, which are similar to a blood clot.
If the tumors bleed, they get bigger. Clarissa said if the four tumors near her brain stem bleed, Morgan could die.
"They don't know how to stop that," Morgan's mother said.
She added that doctors said they're hesitant to try to remove the tumors for fear of them bleeding.
"They said they wouldn't be able to get the whole thing and it could cause more damage," she said.
Medicaid has approved the family for medical assistance, but is only paying for specific things, Clarissa said. At home, Morgan spends time in a hospital bed and a wheel chair. She's recently been moved home to receive care from her parents.
"It's been very stressful and now the bills are starting to come in," her mother said. "We didn't have insurance before. It's just kind of a day-by-day thing."
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