Tuesday, July 2, 2013
MARIN MORRISON: COURAGE DEFINED
I never knew Marin Morrison, but her father, Matt, saved my life. We were co-anchors at
Fox Sports Net in Atlanta when I began choking on a large chunk of grapefruit. As panic
gripped me and my face turned a deep shade of purple, Matt, without hesitation, calmly
got up from his chair and gave me the Heimlich maneuver and out came the grapefruit.
In three seconds, Matt showed the kind of person he was. Smart, selfless, and strong. He is
the kind of person you want as your best friend, one you could trust and always count on,
no matter what.
Several years later after we had gone our separate ways in television, I learned about the type
of person his daughter, Marin, was. I was flipping through Sports Illustrated when I saw a
picture of Matt and Marin. I was riveted by the headline:
"As swimmer Marin Morrison and sailor Nice Scandone fought a
deadly disease, they mustered all their strength and courage to
fulfill a final dream: to compete in the Beijing Paralympics"
The article detailed the trials and tribulations of Marin and the Morrison family on their
way to competing in Beijing. Marin, a national record holder, had been battling brain
cancer, which left her paralyzed on the right side of her body after doctors had damaged
a nerve during a tricky and delicate operation. As wet as my eyes had become, I couldn't take
them off this article.
The world got a glimpse of what Matt and his family witnessed up close and personal. Marin
Morrison was the definition of courage. She had gone from a swimmer with real dreams of
making the Olympics to a teenage girl battling for her life. She stared down adversity and
continued to do the thing she loved the most. It didn't matter that Marin had to swim without
the use of the right side of her body or without the vision in her right eye. She fought on.
I was truly inspired by the article about Marin and the courage she demonstrated. The media
likes to heap praise on athletes for having the "courage" to go over the middle of a defense
and make a tough catch. Give me a break. That's not courage, that's just doing what you get
paid for to do. The media thought courage was Michael Jordan playing with the flu during the
NBA Finals. What a joke. Marin Morrison's battle against brain cancer is the definition of
courage. She knew the end was near as cancer attacked her brain and body, but she fought on
and got in the pool in Beijing to compete in the Olympics. Now, THAT is courage.
I have to admit that when I was reading the article, I thought there was going to be a storybook
ending. Marin would've beaten cancer and gone on to compete in the real Olympics. Again,
I was truly inspired. But the article ended with the sentence: "Marin Morrison died on January
2, 2009." She was just 18-years old.
My heart went through the floor and the tears followed. I was devastated for Matt
and his family. I hadn't even known. Matt had never said anything.
But that's the type of guy, Matt is. He did not ask for sympathy and didn't want others feeling
sorry for Marin or his family. I know that Matt tried to do everything possible to save his
daughter's life. He gave her the best care and best doctors, and most of all, the love and support
Marin needed to face the unthinkable.
Now, Matt is telling the inspirational story of Marin and wants the whole world to know about
the person Marin was and the courage she demonstrated. He's made a documentary, but he
needs your support to help it come to fruition. I owe Matt a great deal, he saved my life. If
I had the money, I'd foot the entire bill. Unfortunately, I don't. But you can help him achieve
his goal. Follow this link to read about an amazing story.
Please take 10 minutes to read the story about Marin Morrison. It will change the way you
think about adversity and the challenges in your life.