Event raises money for Regen Morris family
A group of military men, and one woman, gathered at the Walters State Community College soccer field on Saturday for a head shave. Meanwhile, youth soccer teams competed on the field.
The Rootin' for Regen kick-'n-shave was a fundraiser for 12-year-old Regen Morris, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last November. The community has displayed an outpouring of love and support for Regen, lining the streets of Dolly Parton Parkway for his return home from St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis earlier this month.
At Saturday's event, shaving participants pledged money for their shaves. Other donors pledged for soccer goals scored.
For those seeking an alternative way to support Regen, Sevier County resident Lisa Spurling was also present, offering feathers and hairbows in Regan's favorite color, green.
Event coordinator and long-time family friend Renee Howard said, "We wanted to put together a fundraiser that is fun and lighthearted. Regen loves soccer, and we wanted a kid-friendly atmosphere that would put a smile on his face and offer support."
During the fundraiser, American Youth Soccer Organization Regional Commissoner Jeremy Hurst and Assistant Regional Commissioner Nisha Hurst presented Regen's father, Dan, with a green soccer jersey. "He'll be back out here playing soon," Jeremy said.
Regen is undergoing extensive treatment. Every 14 days, he travels to Johnson City, St. Jude's affiliate location, for chemotherapy. In addition, he has in-home therapy sessions three times a week.
He will return to St. Jude's in Memphis June 3 for MRI scans and a checkup.
"Regan has been home three weeks, and he seems very happy," Dan Morris said. "He's much more relaxed now that he is home."
"I have two boys that are 9 and 4," said Miguel Uribarri, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard who had his head shaved at the fundraiser. "I can only begin to imagine what the family is going through. We need to support them any way we can."
"The whole community has really pulled together," Nisha Hurst said. "It's not something we do because we have to. It's something we do because we want to."
Howard envisions this year's fundraiser expanding. "Next year we're going to get other sports teams invoved and make it a community-wide event to benefit kids facing terminal illnesses such as cancer," she said.