BY LORI TUCKER
6 News Anchor
MEMPHIS (WATE) - Thousands of people worldwide are "Rootin' for Regen."
The family of 12-year-old Regen Morris, of Sevier County, is hoping each person who sees his "Rootin' for Regen" Facebook page will take a moment and pray for a miracle.
Regen is battling a rare form of brain cancer called anaplastic astrocytoma.
6 News sat down with Regen's parents, Dan and Tishia Morris, at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, where their son has just started treatment.
Dan says Regen, the couple's youngest of three sons, has always been athletic, and was named most valuable player last year by his basketball team at Pi Beta Phi Elementary School in Gatlinburg.
So they knew something was wrong when he started having physical symptoms a few weeks before Thanksgiving.
"He had started basketball season and his coach asked me, was something wrong, because he noticed that he was really just very slow-moving, not really active," Dan Morris said. "We asked him and he said that his legs just felt strange. They felt weird."
Regen was admitted to East Tennessee Children's Hospital for tests, then transferred to a rehab facility in Atlanta, where an MRI revealed the rapidly-growing malignant tumors in his brain.
He was brought to St. Jude just after New Year's Day and thanks to regular updates on Facebook from family and friends, not only are thousands of people posting their thoughts and prayers, they've mailed hundreds upon hundreds of cards and letters to the hospital.
"He broke the St. Jude mailroom record with the volume of materials, packages," Dan said.
"We had all of the mail one day, except for one letter that got mixed up in our mail. We read every single one of them to him so he gets to see them and we hang some of them up in the room, but there's only so much wall space," Regen's mother Tishia said.
Regen knows where he is and some of what is going on.
"He's aware. He does know that he has a tumor in his brain and that we've come here so that he can get the kind of medication he needs to make it go away," Tishia said. "We don't want to scare him anymore than he is scared."
Regen is no longer speaking right now, but he still communicates through a brilliant smile.
"He smiles when the answer is yes," Tishia says, "and he doesn't smile when the answer is no."
Regen also flashes a big smile when he gets a visitor, especially his girlfriend, Kennedy, whose mother brought her to Memphis to see Regen.
Everywhere the family turns, there is someone willing to share support. The Morris family is depending on that, and faith, for strength.
"We don't understand why things happen," Dan said,"but we firmly believe that we've been put in this situation by God to touch lives. It's having an impact and we are just choosing to let God work through us and work through Regen."
To support Regen, check out his Facebook page Rootin' for Regen.
There are many fundraisers going on to help with his past medical costs. The latest is at any branch of Citizens Bank.
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