I am best friends with Morgan’s mother and I have known Morgan to always be a bright, cheerful, charismatic girl, and a world-class distance swimmer with Olympic aspirations. But a confounding foot injury and a staph infection that never healed changed her life. Morgan lived in chronic pain for six years and underwent numerous surgeries until she finally was forced to undergo a below-the-knee amputation on May 14, 2018.
Despite the odds, she made the best of a harrowing situation. She was back in the pool three months after her amputation. Shortly after she shocked the Para Swimming World and became National Champion in multiple events enabling her to beselected to train at the elite United States Olympic facility in Colorado Springs with dreams of representing her country at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020, all while attending college as a pre-med student.
Sadly, her medical troubles were not over. In January, while training, Morgan fractured her remaining foot. After five months the wound refused to heal and she was forced to drop out of the training program. She moved back to Bedford, NH to seek more medical treatment from a team of doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Morgan underwent an angiogram that determined she has an extremely rare vascular disease that prevents adequate blood flow from mid calf down to her foot weakening the lower limb. Thus triggering chronic, debilitating pain.
After weeks in hospital to both determine the cause and seek a solution through various therapies and medicinal approaches, an exhaustive array of treatment options were ruled out. An army of doctors agonized to discover an alternative treatment but there wasn’t one. The doctors finally determined that Morgan must now have her right leg amputated below the knee. The surgery, a revolutionary new procedure called the Ewing Amputation, is scheduled for Oct. 8 at Brigham and Women’s hospital. Morgan will become the first bilateral Ewing Amputee in the world and the surgeon, Dr. Carty, will also do revisions to her left residual limb, leaving Morgan legless until the wounds heal. But even then, she will no longer have her feet. It is a terrifying prospect for a 22 year old woman to face a life without two legs.
As any of you with even the smallest medical issues will know, the financial burden from all the surgeries, lengthy hospital stays, medications, prosthetics, customized wheelchairs and home modifications are overwhelming and the Stickney’s are facing huge debt, exceeding a quarter of a million dollars, and a mountain of worrying uncertainty.
Through it all, Morgan has remained strong and positive, as always. Her goals remain the same -- to win a spot on the Paralympic team and to pursue a career in medicine in order to help others facing similar hardships. The hashtag she created says it all:
Thank you so much for taking to the time to read this. We hope you can help out.
- Melinda Geberth
- Michael Szkotnicki
Organizer and beneficiary
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