HAVELOCK, CRAVEN COUNTY - First, a Havelock family learned their 2-year-old son has brain cancer. Then, the toddler's Marine father learned he has a brain tumor too.
Devon and Valerie Morse, both 24, have a 2-year-old son named David. The family lives at MCAS Cherry Point, where Devon has been stationed as a Marine for the past six years.
The Morse family said they discovered in March that David was not feeling well. The toddler was vomiting, suffering from nose bleeds, and couldn't balance while walking. The family took David to Carteret General Hospital, and he was later airlifted to Vidant Medical Center.
Doctors said the 2-year-old boy had a tumor on the right side of his brain-- the size of a tangerine. After more examinations, the family found out the tumor was malignant. David has brain cancer.
"I stopped and I cried and I cried," Valerie said. "And my husband had to walk out of the room, just to take a breather real quick. And my son looked up at me, and said, 'What's wrong, mommy?' And I just lost it."
David underwent surgery, and doctors were able to remove the majority of the tumor, his family said. He is now undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
But just as Devon and Valerie were coming to terms with their son's long journey ahead, they learned more bad news.
In April, Devon went to Carteret General Hospital after suffering from numbness in his body. Doctors later discovered that Devon has a tumor in his head as well. Doctors said the tumor is too small for surgery, but serious enough for him to seek additional medical treatment and begin taking medicine to prevent it from worsening. Devon is continuing his visits to doctors to figure out how serious his condition is and how to handle it.
The Morse family said there has been a lot of community support. Devon works as a METOC analysis apprentice at MCAS Cherry Point. The base's fire and police stations have been collecting donations, toys and items for the family.
The Morses spend the majority of their time on the road, traveling to Greenville, Jacksonville and even Durham to seek medical care. The family said the hardest part is keeping up with the costs of travel.
If you are interested in helping the family, you can contribute to their online donation fund by CLICKING HERE.
If you are interested in following the journey 2-year-old David, CLICK HERE to follow his Facebook page.