Cancer Fighting Toddler Spreads Word to "Be Gavin Strong" - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Cancer Fighting Toddler Spreads Word to "Be Gavin Strong"

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A toddler from Ripley has started a statewide trend and its picking up speed here in North Central West Virginia.

At two years old, Gavin Morris likes to pretend he has super strength.

He's started a movement that has everyone from the Mountain State and beyond flexing their muscles.

"He's really intelligent and energetic, and really just a beautiful, bright child," smiled Melinda Petroff, Gavin's great aunt. "One of those kids when he enters the room, he just lights up room."

Like most two-year-olds, Morris' biggest priorities in life should be riding his tricycle and being a big brother to one-year-old Greyson.

But all of that changed just one month ago.

Gavin was diagnosed with an ear infection, but when the infection cleared and he was still in pain, doctors took a second look.

"To one day have a beautiful happy, health child and the next, your child has cancer. It just happened so quickly," Petroff recalled.

Morris is battling a rare form of cancer, one that only 700 children are diagnosed with each year.

"It's neuroblastoma, which is a cancer of the nerve cells," Petroff explained. "They just start growing abnormally. And instead of turning into normal nerve cells they turn into cancer cells."

But the Morris family plans on fighting. Lead by their fearless leader: Gavin.

"One day, Tosha posted on her Facebook how it brought a smile to Gavin's face to see the strong faces. So, it exploded," Petroff said.

It started locally, then spread statewide, and in just a short time pictures of "Gavin Strong" faces came pouring in from across the country and across the globe.

"The response has been amazing," Petroff laughed. "We have people from Vegas, Colorado, Disney World, and Italy! There's girls going to Germany this week, they're sending pictures. We are going to meet the thousand and exceed it."

"Gavin Strong" has taken off, and his family in Bridgeport and Grafton are raising money to help the Morris' with the costs incurred as a child battles more than many of us could ever imagine.

"You know, they should be focused on spending time with their child and spending time taking care and making sure their child is being taken care of in the best possible manner. Not focused on money," Petroff added.

We want you to post your "Gavin Strong" photo on the Be Gavin Strong Facebook page.

A link is available on our website and on Kelly's Facebook page.

There are also many ways you can help the Morris family.

Timmy's fund is raffling off an iPad.

You can email Stephanie Roda at

And you can purchase armbands and t-shirts at Gavin's website.


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