Dale Morrison knows what it is like to watch someone you love die from cancer.
He also knows what its like to have cancer, and he wants to help other cancer patients navigate that valley.
“The Lord really burdened me to minster to cancer patients,” he said. “Forty-two percent of Americans will have some form of cancer. That’s an epidemic.”
Morrison answered that call several years ago by creating Hope and Help Ministry, a Christian outreach to cancer patients. Now he has gone a step further by publishing his own book designed to encourage patients who are navigating cancer.
The book, called Hope and Help from a Cancer Survivor, was released in November and is based on a diary that Morrison kept while battling cancer.
“It was really a memoir to my kids and grandkids,” he said. “I wanted to make sure they knew that God was there with me.”
His son-in-law, Dr. Jacob West of Stamford, agreed to help him write the book and encouraged Morrison to publish for the public, not just his family.
“This is a pretty emotional book,” Morrison said. “I don’t hold anything back.”
Morrison has lived in the Wylie area for 37 years. His daughters, Courtney, Emily and Malory graduated from Wylie, and he built the Wylie Swim Club. He also has helped develop several neighborhoods in the Wylie area.
In 2007, Morrison went on a mission trip to India when he began to feel sick.
“I felt a knot on the inside of my leg,” he said. “It grew to the size of an egg.”
When he returned to the states, he had it checked out by a doctor and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma – the same disease his mother had died from only three years earlier.
The years that followed included rounds of chemo, radiation and even stem cell treatments. Four times, Morrison went into remission only to have the disease return.
In 2010, in the midst of Morrison’s battle with cancer, Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake. Morrison decided to go take supplies to his good friend who was a missionary there. While in Haiti, he apparently contracted a rare, deadline virus.
“Nobody survives it,” he said. “It takes away all the muscles in your body. I was paralyzed on the left side of my body. My wife had to dress me and help me eat.”
Doctors gave Morrison an experimental new treatment, and within days, he was feeling better.
“Through thousands and thousands of prayers, God healed me,” he said.
Then, the family was hit with even more devastating news. Morrison’s 3-year-old granddaughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“I was feeling like the story of Job in the Bible,” he said.
His granddaughter had surgery and lost the hearing in one ear, but today is free of the disease.
“She’s a precious little angel,” Morrison said. “She’s healthy in every way.”
Finally, in 2012, Morrison received a bone marrow transplant from a donor in Seattle. He still has scar tissue and some handicaps, and he takes anti-rejection medicine every day, but he has been cancer free for three years.
His book details his years battling cancer, several of his mission trips and his unwaivering faith in God. His Hope and Help Ministry provides boxes of reading material for cancer patients to help them navigate the valley they are walking through. Each box is worth about $40, but is given to cancer patients at no cost.
“Without me having cancer, I never would have started this ministry,” he said. “We visit cancer patients all over the state. When people are scared or they don’t know what chemo is going to be like, they call me. Almost every day, or every other day, I am talking to people about their cancer.”
“We bring hope to people and we bring help to people.”
Morrison’s book is available at Hastings or from his website, HopeandHelp.net.