The day before beginning a CF-related hospital
stay, Morgan was named the NES (Naturally
Elegant and Simple) New York State Queen
for her division.
On Morgan McCall’s 10th birthday last May, she got just what she wanted: Her friends donated gifts for kids being treated at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Central New York.
Knowing firsthand how difficult and scary hospital visits can be, Morgan, who has cystic fibrosis, was determined to make a tough time a little easier for other children. And as she walked through those hospital doors several weeks later to donate the gifts and begin a CF-related hospital stay to boost her own health, she did just that.
Finding Happiness on the Stage
In addition to helping other children fighting serious illnesses, Morgan lifts the spirits of those around her through dance and dazzles audiences at beauty pageants.
Winning 21 regional, state and local preliminary beauty titles over the past seven years, and five dance awards in 2010 alone, Morgan shows that although CF is hard, it doesn’t stand in her way. In fact, the energy and enthusiasm she brings to the stage are so inspiring, her dance studio, Kennedy Performing Arts Center, named an award in her honor: the Morgan’s Dancing Angels Award.
“She’ll dance no matter what,” says Paula McCall, Morgan’s mom. “She puts her whole heart into it — she does that with everything she takes on.”
Win or lose, Morgan is poised for every beauty pageant and dance performance she can fit into her schedule. “I can’t choose a favorite pageant,” she says. “I love all of them!”
Facing the Challenges of CF
Each night, Morgan wears a vibrating vest for two hours to help break up the sticky mucus in her lungs. Other parts of her daily regimen include inhaled antibiotics and medicines that thin mucus, as well as vitamins, dietary supplements, acid reflux medication, ibuprofen and dozens of enzymes that aid digestion. Every other month, another two inhaled treatments are added to her routine.
“CF is really hard,” Morgan says. “Sometimes I get really angry, and sometimes really sad.” To stay positive, Morgan looks forward to her next opportunity to get dressed up in a new pageant gown and hopes to compete at the national level some day.
Parents Steve and Paula, brother Brandt, 13, and other family and friends also do whatever they can to help make the treatments go by quickly. “When she has an IV and can’t use our video games, I don’t play either,” Brandt says. “Our whole family will sit down and play a game with her instead, to make her treatments easier.”
“Brandt is there for me when I need him,” Morgan says. “He makes me laugh, and he cheers me up when I am sad.”
As Morgan faces the challenges of CF, she stays focused on making others feel good. At this year’s Great Strides walk in Binghamton, N.Y., Morgan showcased her dance skills with ballet, lyrical and musical theater routines to entertain the crowd and to show her appreciation for the volunteers’ support.
In recent years, Morgan has started using beauty pageants to spread awareness of CF. Without revealing that she lives with the disease, Morgan explains what CF is and how she raises funds to help the Foundation find a control and cure. “She always wants to keep it a secret,” Steve says. “She doesn’t want the judges to give her a pity vote — she wants to win pageants on her own.”
By showing others how they can join the fight against CF, Morgan hopes to accomplish the goal she and her brother Brandt share: “To find a cure for everyone with CF.”
Eagerly awaiting her next stage performance, Morgan also looks forward to taking a Disney cruise with her family once the new cruise ship is deployed this year. And her ultimate dream is to be a horse trainer when she grows up. “She’s strong, and I dream for Morgan to do whatever she wants to do,” Paula says. “I know she can do it.”
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