Give a Little Time to 12-Year-Old Swimmer Stricken by Brain Cancer

By Mark Henderson

PHOENIX, Ariz., August 18. I have a little favor to ask of all of you in the worldwide swimming community. A lot of you have actually helped me with this before and done an amazing job. I'm just asking for 10 minutes of your time.

Six months ago, on February 23, a 12-year-old swimmer from the Swim Atlanta Swim Team, Marin Morrison, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I learned of this from a National Team teammate of mine, Mary Ellen Blanchard (Warta).

When Marin was diagnosed, she was an excellent swimmer for her age with dreams of going to the Olympics. After the surgery, in which doctors removed as much of the tumor as they could, Marin had a long and hard recovery. All of which she did with an amazing attitude and contagious smile. This girl is tough!

Her family set up a Web site for her that she read nightly for inspiration and used as a distraction from a lot of the pain she had to deal with. She absolutely loves to play the Six Degrees of Separation game and a ton of you sent her messages from all over the world last time letting her know how you got her email address. (By the way, please pass this on to your friends and teammates.)

It's time to step up on the blocks again because Marin’s tumor has come back and she was rushed back into surgery on Monday. She will be treated with chemo and radiation therapy this time, beginning next week. Unfortunately, she also emerged from surgery with paralysis on her right side, a paralysis we hope will be temporary.

Please take the time to let Marin know of the support she has from all of us and put a smile in this young girl's heart.

Once on her homepage, hit her guestbook to leave an entry. Please enter where you're from, what you do and if you competed in sports – list the sport next to your name. Trust me, Marin will amaze you, I promise.

As you'll see from the guestbook she's already touched the hearts of thousands of people across the world. She never stops smiling.

Her website: www.marinlove.com

Mark Henderson, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist, is Chairman of the USOC Athletes’ Advisory Committee.

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