March 2018 Volunteer of the Month

Bobbi Morgan

At 1:00 am on Saturday, October 21, 2017 a jet traveling from Spain triumphantly landed in Philadelphia. On board was a group of very enthusiastic and VERY tired players and coaches of the Haverford College Women's Basketball team. For most, this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel abroad and compete internationally. Head Coach Bobbi Morgan, in her tenth season at Haverford, was thrilled to lead the trip while giving her deserving team this opportunity.

bobbi-morgan-march-2018At 7:30 am on that same morning, an enthusiastic, but slightly exhausted, Coach Morgan arrived at Haverford's gym for the 26th Annual Billy Lake ALS Basketball Marathon. She immediately sprang into action, coordinating her team so that they could work the clocks throughout the long day of basketball, and sell hot dogs, T-shirts, raffle tickets and more. "I was tired. But it was a good tired," she remarked. "We've been working with the Marathon since 2011 and it's a day no one on my team would ever want to miss. This year, the men's team also helped out in the early shift so my crew could get a little extra sleep."

The story of how Bobbi Morgan led the charge in engaging her team in the Marathon is not a happy one - but it is certainly a meaningful one. Libby Meeks, the mother of Dominique Meeks, one of the team's star players during the 2009-2012 seasons, had been living with ALS since Dom was a young girl. Libby became a "part of the team" and Dom's commitment and love for her mother was acutely evident to all. The team began to participate in Walks to Defeat ALS® as well as the annual ALS-week Haverford, where events raising awareness and funds for the disease take place.

To add to the connection, '83 Haverford Alum Joe Schwartz had lost his life to ALS in 2008. Cory Walts, the school's Fitness Center Director and Strength and Conditioning Coach, organizes a Memorial 3K Run/Walk in his honor each year. The event, to be help on April 15 at Haverford, is now in its 11th year and supports the Chapter's programs as well as global research.

"About seven years ago, my old friends Patti and Dan Quinn sent me an email - "We're looking into moving the Basketball Marathon to a new location. Would you be interested?" they asked. "This was a no-brainer," said Bobbi. "Haverford College gave us the time and space to hold the all-day Marathon where high school players and other basketball lovers in the community compete in a fun-filled day. All money raised supports the Chapter's Billy Lake Research Fund as well as a scholarship at Bonner & Prendergrast Catholic High School - Billy's high school. Billy Lake meant a lot - not just to me, but to so many involved in Delaware County, PA basketball. When he lost his life to ALS in 1992, leaving his wife Patti to raise their four children, the entire community pulled together to show their love and support."

"The basketball community in this area is very tightly-knit. My husband actually worked with Billy at the Lamplighter Tavern in Havertown, PA and I coached at Notre Dame High School and Haverford High School against Dan Quinn's daughter, Sarah. Working with Patti and Dan was like working with family."

"I'm committed to this Marathon. I'm committed to the ALS cause. When the team and I met Dom and her mother Libby and saw first-hand the challenges of ALS, it became transformational. We saw how Dom fed her mother through a feeding tube and carried her on the bus to travel with the team. We actually had to get a special waiver from the NCAA to allow Libby Meeks to travel with us to the tip-off tournament in Boston in 2012. The joy both Libby and Dom felt was contagious. Libby became more than 'a mom in a wheelchair' at a game. She was an inspiration. That moment has been shared over and over through the years with my team and it's part of why they are so willing to help at the Marathon each year."

Bobbi Morgan credits others with helping defeat ALS. She credit Cory Walts and the school for their support. She credits Coach Phil Martelli, Men's Basketball Head Coach at St. Joseph's University for engaging his summer camp teams with the Marathon. And, of course, she credits Patti and Dan Quinn for their tireless work for the ALS cause throughout the year. But, The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter is honored to credit Bobbi Morgan, for setting such a positive example to her team that they wholeheartedly come out year after year for this Marathon. And, for recognizing the most meaningful parts of life and instilling a strong sense of giving back in her team. This one scenario says it all...

"This was the best part...despite living with ALS, Libby Meeks could light up the room with her smile. And, when our kids won the championship trophy, they ran into the stands and gave it to her. That truly was the BEST part."


 
 

The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter
321 Norristown Road - Suite 260, Ambler, PA 19002
215-643-5434

The ALS Association is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.