FALMOUTH — When Henry Morgan was born 13 months ago, he was just like any other healthy baby.
His first birthday party in late April was lumberjack themed, Henry’s mother, Meghan, said, because “he had the appetite of a lumberjack.”
But soon she suspected something wasn’t right. His stomach became hard and he lost his appetite. Clinic doctors told her Henry was probably constipated; they were not concerned.
“It was something recurring and it was worrying me,” Morgan said.
On Monday, May 18, she and Henry went to a pediatrician. An X-ray determined it wasn’t something as simple as constipation: it was a tumor.
“It was a lot all at once,” Morgan said, going from thinking her son was just irregular on a Monday morning to seeing him have acute kidney failure on Monday night.
A biopsy the following day revealed a large, cancerous mass.
Henry was diagnosed with a cancerous neuroblastoma tumor, which is a rare type of nerve-cell cancer that affects infants and young children.
Since then, Henry and Meghan have not left the hospital, aside from an occasional trip to the courtyard when Henry is up to it. Morgan, a single mother who lives in Falmouth and owns Portland Paws, a dog-walking and pet-sitting service, has been forced to stop working.
“I’ve been able to coordinate my employees from hospital, but I’m not able to go out and work,” she said.
Henry is undergoing chemotherapy and treatment at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland. He had his second round of chemo on June 12, and his mother said he will continue having a round every three weeks throughout the summer.
His cancer was determined to be Stage III, which means the tumor has grown into nearby tissue and lymph nodes, but not other parts of the body. Morgan said she does not know what causes Henry’s kind of cancer, but that it is very rare.
Since she hasn’t been’t able to work, her family set up a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $50,000.
Morgan said she “wasn’t ready to be thinking ahead at all” after Henry’s diagnosis, but while she “isn’t good at taking help” from others, she finally relented and allowed her family to create the fundraising page.
The results, she said, have been amazing.
“At this point strangers have stepped in to help me,” she said. “Because I know I won’t be working for the foreseeable future and I don’t know what we’ll have for medical expenses, this has allowed me not to worry, since I have so much else to worry about now,” including “non-medical expenses” that are often overlooked.
The Morgans even caught the attention of NBC Nightly News, which recently covered the high costs of cancer treatments and the rising popularity of crowd-funding campaigns to support people who need the treatments.
Morgan said she wasn’t nervous about being interviewed. “Them calling me was not craziest thing that happened to me in last two weeks,” she said.
Henry has his good days and bad days, Morgan said, and is “pretty bored” with the hospital. But she said he was “smiling and laughing” with his grandparents on June 9.
“It took a lot of time to process,” Morgan said of her son’s diagnosis. “Now we’re at the point where we can do something about it. He started chemo, and we’re headed down the right path. It feels good to have things started.”
Thirteen-month-old Henry Morgan of Falmouth is being treated at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland for a rare type of cancer. His family is using a GoFundMe page to help pay medical costs.