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Wishes coming true quickly for Boone man

Lawrence Pierce
Steve Morgan, shown here with caregiver and sister Debbie Pritchard, meets with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Thursday. Tomblin presented Morgan with a Distinguished Mountaineer award and a West Virginia ball cap.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It took just a little more than a month and a lot of help from the community, but Diana Browning made her friend's dreams come true.

Boone County resident Steve Morgan, who recently was diagnosed with lung cancer, will fulfill the last of his three wishes with a weeklong trip to Disney World, beginning Friday.

"It seems like, there towards the end, more of the community has been stepping up," Browning said. "They even have a little bit of spending money."

Morgan got another of his wishes on Thursday, when he and his sister/caregiver, Debbie Pritchard, had a meeting with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in his office at the state Capitol Complex.

Morgan, who has cerebral palsy, wanted to talk with the governor about issues that affect West Virginians with disabilities. For instance, he wanted Tomblin to know how important programs such as Social Security are for people with disabilities.

He also wanted the governor to encourage more businesses to hire people with disabilities.

"He wants more businesses to realize that handicapped people want to work to the best of their abilities," Pritchard said.

He also wants Tomblin to support the work that police are doing in Boone County to keep drugs off the streets and to continue to support veterans, Pritchard said.

Browning, a supervisor at REM West Virginia, an agency that serves people with disabilities and where Morgan is a client, has led the charge in getting Morgan his three wishes. She raised $3,179 to send Morgan and Pritchard to Branson, Mo., where they got to see a performance by Morgan's idol, country singer Mickey Gilley.

The money also will cover the Disney trip and includes a rental car, hotel stay and some spending money.

Morgan had radiation treatments at Thomas Memorial Hospital. Those are done now, but Morgan's family won't know what effect they have had until the end of the month, Pritchard said.

Pritchard said she called all of his doctors to make sure it was OK for him to fly to Florida.

"They said, 'Go. Take him anywhere he wants to go,'" she said.

Morgan is looking forward to visiting Animal Kingdom, the Magic Kingdom and seeing the Disney World Parade. He'll likely also visit a beach while in Florida, Pritchard said.

"I can't believe he's going," Browning said. "It's like three wishes in a month. It seemed impossible and now I'm like, breathing. He's almost there."

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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