Megan Murray’s Story

Published on June 14, 2011

4 years ago when then-13-year-old Megan Murray was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Family House became a “port in the storm” for Megan and her mom, Sue. “It was our home away from home,” said Sue. “Everything changes,” said Megan’s mom. “For me as a mother and for my husband, you always hope you can protect your child from everything, and you can’t.”
During her first treatment, Megan, along with her mom, stayed at Family House every week. The following year, they were back every month. “Family House means so much to me,” said Megan. “I liked staying there so much better than at a hotel. It’s like having a bunch of roommates. It was interesting to hear other people’s stories.
Megan never imagined she could “give back” to Family House. But that all changed when she was approached by two schoolmates.
When Megan returned to her home in Eureka after her first year of intensive treatment, two high school seniors–Ashley Wahlund and Jillian Sullivan offered to throw a fundraiser for her. Megan, a freshman at the time, was surprised–in her school of 1,600 students, she didn’t even know the two girls. “I thought, ‘What? Why? Wow!'” said Megan. But Megan had one stipulation: every dime raised had to be donated to Family House. “I thought about donating the money to American Cancer Society or The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” said Megan. “But I felt Family House was more near and dear to my heart. They really helped me a lot, and I wanted to help them.”
The fundraiser “Miracles for Megan” was a hit. The senior advisor, Stephanie Jackson, said the seniors put in countless hours organizing, securing the building and publicizing the event. Hundreds of people showed up for food, drinks, and a live and silent auction. Even though Megan was in heavy treatment and not feeling well at the time, she pitched in. She made a dozen pieces of jewelry for the silent auction. “I felt bad not doing anything to help,” said Megan. “I felt like it was the one thing I could do.”
The event raised $15,000 –more than Megan ever imagined. “We were really excited,” said Megan. “I knew that money could help Family House so much. After you go through something like that, you mature,” Megan said.”The people at Family House are the only people who can really understand what you’re going through.”
The staff and Board at Family House were thrilled to receive the donation, especially since Megan and her mom Sue kept them apprised of the event from the beginning. “The kind of event truly supports the mission of Family House,” said Alexandra Morgan, CEO of Family House. “We are continually looking for new ways to house as many families as possible, with the hope of never having to turn away a family who needs our services. We are so proud of Megan and her school for their fantastic donation!
As for Megan, big news: she finished treatment August of 2008! She’s feeling great and is busy with school and ballet lessons. 
 -Written by Christine Roher Peterson, Volunteer