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Outpouring of suppport comes for leukemia victim

by Merrie Leininger

The family of Gardnerville resident Tiffany Morris wants to thank the community for their prayers while Tiffany is receiving chemotherapy at Washoe Medical Center.

Morris, 28, has been ill since the birth of her 1-year-old son, Kaleb, said her husband, Scott.

Scott, who has worked at RO Anderson Engineering Inc. in Minden for about five years, said Tiffany was taken to Washoe Medical Center last week after a couple of months of constant health problems.

She went to her family doctor two weeks ago and he drew blood to test her for diabetes. Within a couple of days, Tiffany was so sick, she called him again and begged him to see her, he refused, saying the test results weren’t back yet, Scott said.

Scott took her to the Carson Valley Medical Center and within half an hour, a doctor there diagnosed her with leukemia.

“It was shocking because you never expect something like that,” Scott said.

He said the family was upset with their family doctor, who refused to pay attention to the same symptoms the urgent care doctor recognized.

“When we took her to Washoe, the doctors up there just had their mouths open because they said her conditions were incompatible with life,” he said.

n Outpouring of support. He said since Tiffany has been in the hospital, receiving her first round of chemotherapy, they have received an outpouring of prayers and support, but without Tiffany’s income as a paralegal, the family is at a loss. With three children and a brand new house, Scott said they relied on Tiffany’s contribution, even though she worked out of the home only about 20 hours a week.

The Morrises are asking that if residents want to help, they can donate money or donate blood. A special account has been set up for Tiffany at the Bank of America.

Scott has been able to take off work to spend time every day with Tiffany, but he has also been mom and dad to Brittany, 5, Nickolas, 4, and Kaleb, while their mother is hospitalized.

Her family lives in the Bay area, where the Morris family lived until about five years ago. Scott and Tiffany were high school sweethearts and after being separated for a time, married three years ago. Her parents have visited once and are planning on taking more time away from work to be with their daughter soon.

Although he has help from his mother, Jo Ann Morris, and his sisters, Sandy DeGracia and Tana Runacres and her husband, Pete, owners of Custom Heating and Air, it has been difficult for him, and Scott said he knows it has been most difficult for Tiffany.

“That’s probably the most difficult thing for her, not the chemotherapy, but being away from her children during all this,” he said.

n Long hospital stay. Tiffany was expected to finish her first round of chemotherapy Friday, and after a week of resting, she will begin another. She is expected to stay in the hospital for at least three more weeks, Scott said.

“They said if we were closer, she could come home, but they want to keep her for observation during that week,” he said.

Acute myeloid leukemia strikes 1 in 10,000 people and the doctors have told the Morrises that without treatment, people generally die within four or five months.

With chemotherapy and blood transfusions, Tiffany has an 80 percent chance of recovering and a 40 percent chance of recovering and never relapsing. If that doesn’t happen, they will have to look at a bone marrow transplant, but the Morrises don’t want to think about anything negative at this point.

“We’re trusting God to take care of her now. Our faith is carrying us through this. We have the strong support of our church. Everyone’s stepped forward with food and day care,” Scott said.

The church and Anderson Engineering is also organizing blood drives to replenish the blood Tiffany will be using in the next month.

Anyone interested in donating blood can call Calvary Chapel or Anderson at 265-3259 and 782-2322.

Monetary donations may be made to the Tiffany Morris Leukemia Fund at Bank of America. The account number is 560040853.