Weight loss fundraiser to be held in honor of Gavin Morris

GRAFTON— The Fourth Annual Gavin Strong Biggest Loser Fundraiser Competition is set to kick off on February 27, in honor of Gavin Morris.

According to Tosha Morris, the challenge of losing weight, toning up, or simply just adjusting to healthier eating, while raising money for a cause near to her own heart, will run for three months, ending on, May 27.

To participate in the challenge there is a non-refundable $15 registration fee, which must be paid by Feb. 27. Payments can be mailed or made using Paypal.

The final results of the competition will be based on the percentage of body weight lost, not the amount of pounds. Morris shared that in the event of a tie, the number of weigh-ins reported will be considered.

“Participants must provide me with their start weight on February 27, and weigh-ins will be every Saturday, throughout the duration of the competition,” said Morris.

Morris added that weigh-in are completed in the comfort of the individual’s own home, and can be sent to her each weekend, via text, Facebook message or email.

In addition, Morris shared that she will be keeping track of everyone’s weight, as well as their progress in order to calculate the final percentage that has been lost.

“Honesty is required to make this event worthwhile,” declared Morris. “To keep it fair, no weight-loss pills, wraps, surgeries or any induced weight-loss is permitted.”

The participant with the highest percentage lost at the end of the competition, will win 50 percent of the money raised.

The other 50 percent will go to, www.gavinstrongfund.com, to support Neuroblastoma Research.

According to the American Cancer Society, Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that starts in certain early forms of nerve cells, found in an embryo or fetus.

The American Cancer Society reports that this type of cancer is the most common among infants less and one year old, and accounts for six percent of all cancers in children, with nearly 700 new cases of Neuroblastoma reported in the United States, each year.

Gavin, Tosha and Chad Morris’s son, was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma in May of 2012, at only two-and-a-half-years old.

Gavin underwent many months of treatments, and was declared to have no evidence of the disease in February of 2013.

However, a few months later Gavin relapsed. After his relapse, the family relocated to Philadelphia so Gavin could receive chemotherapy and MIBG therapy at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

It was at CHOP that the family first heard about Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which is an organization that raises money and awareness of childhood cancer causes, primarily for research into new treatments and cures, as well as, to empower other to get involved and make a different for children with cancer. 

Gavin showed a remarkable amount of courage, strength and hope over the next several months.

“Gavin became cancer free on March 10, 2014, when he joined Jesus in Heaven,” stated Morris. “He was a child that could light up a room with just his presence, a light so bright and beautiful, that nothing will dim it.”

Despite their unimaginable loss, Gavin’s parents stand in hope, strength and courage, ready to fight and ready to win for other children with Neuroblastoma through the Gavin Strong Fund for Neuroblastoma Research at Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Morris shared that the Gavin Strong Biggest Loser Competition got its start in 2014, after Gavin passed away.

“I am continuously looking for ways to raise awareness, funds and bring benefit to others. A weight loss competition allows all three of those principles to take place,” added Morris.

In the past the challenge has had as many as 75 participants.

“That is 75 people who learn about Gavin, donate to raise funds for Neuroblastoma Research and are able to better themselves,” said Morris.

Morris further shared that it is a personal goal of hers to raise one million dollars for Neuroblastoma Research, and this challenge is just one of the annual events that she holds to be one step closer to this goal.

“I honestly hope I never need to reach that goal; just maybe there will be a cure before then. But, until, I will continue to be an advocate for kids with cancer, in memory of my sweet Gavin,” Morris announced.