922: Cal Morris
Tarpon Springs Violinist Caleb Morris survived a grueling battle with a rare form of blood cancer thanks to the support of his family and his love for music.
Hello, I'm Dalia Colon and this is "WEDU Arts Plus".
Violinist Cal Morris is a familiar performer,
along Tarpon Springs famed Sponge Docks.
Diagnosed with cancer at age 31,
Cal turn to his family and music
in his battle to survive.
- Am I gonna to make it or not?
When you're looking at death
in it's face and you're so scared
- And the way that hours become so precious.
I was like, I don't care if they're horrible hours,
I just want hours.
- Cancer it changes you in a way that I think
a lot of people don't get or can't even understand.
(soft instrumental music)
The world to me just, is music.
At 13, I got interested in the violin,
it came naturally
and I feel like I just so quickly fell in love with it
and I'm not great with words and just communication,
but music is just how I express myself.
It was literally about a month of that,
on and off nauseousness
and after more testing,
We started coming back with,
it looks like it could be a blood cancer,
that was huge blow,
it was something we never expected.
- Cancer is absolute war.
- I can't even go there,
I won't let that happen,
I gotta be there for them.
When I immediately started doing chemotherapy,
I responded really, really well,
but they were still like,
to fix the real problem
we really think you need to do a transplant.
- And someone who has a potentially terminal diagnosis,
it's that one shot.
- It made me feel honestly so grateful to be able to
have the opportunity to give him a prosperous life
with his family and his kids.
- The transplant, that was way, way harder
than I could ever imagine.
- Somebody so strong
and just rolled up into this bald, hairless,
gray human being,
it was so sad to watch him disintegrate like that.
- Subsequently he had additional complications
associated with the transplant
that were not run of the mill complications.
- The pain was so bad, I didn't know
how I was gonna get through the next 10 minutes
and much less an hour or day
- Is he dying right now?
If he is, what would I regret not doing?
And I was like, we need the kids here,
we need to get to be together.
- I didn't pick my violin up
for like two months I was like, I couldn't,
but I would hear this song, just so much music in my head.
I just sat down at my keyboard for the first time
and just wrote this whole song,
I feel like there's so much that's gonna come out
and already has, from this journey.
Really one of the best days of my life,
being able to hug their little...
Feel their little arms just wrapped around me
and wrap my arms around them
and be back together.
- Caleb had made an announcement
that he was going back to the docks
and we dropped everything
and we were like,
this is something we're absolutely not gonna miss.
- But just to go back after that,
coming that close to not making it
and there was hundreds of people there
and so to get to that day
and just see so much love and so much support put out
and it was...
It's hard to describe with words.
- That's like everything,
I mean that's the reason
that people undergo this horrible experience of transplant
and the complications that occur post-transplant,
it's to live their lives again.
- I really got that miracle
that so many people hope for and pray for
and long for.
- For more information,