He left with no regrets
‘He left with no regrets.’ Tri-Cities grad with cancer found connection on TikTok, Instagram BY ERIC ROSANE UPDATED MARCH 23, 2022 11:16 AM
Friends and family look back on the life of Parker Morgan, a 21-year-old Kennewick native who died this month after a nearly two-year battle with bone cancer. COURTESY OF CHRISSY MORGAN KENNEWICK, WA He was the “energy in the room,” a dedicated athlete and always sported a smile. That’s just some of what friends and family say of Parker Jeffrey Morgan, the 21-year-old Kennewick native who died this month after a nearly two-year battle with a rare bone cancer, chondrosarcoma. He died at 1:15 a.m. on March 6, surrounded by family.
He was diagnosed with cancer in 2020, just a year after graduating from Kamiakin High School. In the months following, Morgan chronicled his journey through social media posts on Instagram and TikTok that reached millions — some who reached out with their own stories of fighting cancer.
Morgan’s grit and affable approach to one of life’s biggest tests spurred support from those online and in the Tri-Cities to #LiveLikeParker. “It has been overwhelming. The kindness has been overwhelming,” said his mother Chrissy Morgan. “He just had this self control that I can only aspire to. It’s really amazing… He left with no regrets.” Born in the Tri-Cities, Morgan grew up playing soccer and enjoyed spending time with his family on vacations and boating the river. “His favorite thing to do was to travel. He took full advantage of his mom’s flight benefits where he got to go all around the world. His all-time favorite place was the North Shore of Oahu where his brothers live,” his obituary reads.
“He loved the beach, skydiving, hiking, and exploring anything a new country or culture had to offer. Parker was always outgoing, making more friends along the way.” TRACK AND FIELD At Desert Hills Middle School, Morgan discovered a talent for racing hurdles. “He was the happiest person I probably knew in my life,” said Cameron Gutierrez, 21, who ran with Morgan in middle and high school. “He was the energy in the room, he was the life of the party.” Finding out about Morgan’s diagnosis devastated Gutierrez and his friends. “I took a lot of self reflection time to not take life for granted because that could have been me or anyone in our friend group,” he said. Joyce Donais, who coached Morgan in hurdles all four years at Kamiakin, said he was the second-fastest hurdler to ever come through the school and showed excellent sportsmanship. He was “everyone’s best friend,” she said.
He was “everyone’s best friend,” she said. Friends and family look back on the life of Parker Morgan, a 21-year-old Kennewick native who died this month after a nearly two-year battle with bone cancer. COURTESY OF CHRISSY MORGAN “Parker was determined from day one to do well and win. When he came to practice, he worked and always wanted to do more,” Donais wrote in an email. Morgan placed fourth in the 110-meter hurdles and third in the 300 hurdles in Washington state his senior year. He was inducted into the Kamiakin Hall of Fame last February. His dedication landed him a Division 1 track scholarship at Utah Valley University, where he made the travel team his freshman year. HURDLES TO OVERCOME Toward the end of his first year at Valley, Morgan accepted a two-year mission call from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve in Norway. But a sore shoulder would change everything. Chrissy Morgan said her son had been misdiagnosed with fibrous dysplasia when he was younger, and the pain worsened throughout his college freshman year. He received the diagnosis at age 19 during a regular physical in the lead up to his Norway trip. Morgan’s shoulder had been fractured into hundreds of pieces by the time he was diagnosed, his mother explained. He underwent multiple surgeries. His arm was eventually paralyzed. A failed total shoulder replacement last June was particularly frustrating, the young athlete wrote on Instagram. Despite undergoing numerous treatments, “the best year of his life was the year after cancer. And I just think that is incredible,” Chrissy Morgan said. Friends and family look back on the life of Parker Morgan, a 21-year-old Kennewick native who died this month after a nearly two-year battle with bone cancer. COURTESY OF CHRISSY MORGAN He found solace in the little things — visits from his parents in the hospital, warm blankets and text messages from his friends checking in on him. “We started counting the little miracles because we weren’t getting the big ones,” said his mother. Despite it all, she said, her son never complained and always kept a smile on his face. He kept trekking through life. This story was originally published March 23, 2022 5:00 AM.