7 recipients will benefit from Cancer Freeze

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cancer Freeze may be more than two months away, but officials have announced seven recipients for this year’s event.

Straughn’s Gordie Cartwright; Freeport, Fla., native Bryan Leavins; Freeport’s Bailey Miller; Westville, Fla., native Kylee Parrish; Covington County’s Randy Morgan; Opp’s Justin Copeland; and Walton County’s Krystal Newhouse, are this year’s recipients, organizer Jennifer Davidson said.



Cartwright, 15, was diagnosed in September with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Earlier that month, he had a rash, which was treated, and the next week he wasn’t able to march due to shaking, achy feeling and sweating, while feeling cold.

He went to the doctor the following Monday and he was diagnosed with bronchitis and given meds. He was also later diagnosed with a double ear infection. At a ballgame in mid-September, he began coughing up blood and passing blood. A CBC at the ER showed his white count was 176,000. He was taken to Sacred Heart in Pensacola where it was determined he had CML.

There is no cure for CML, but it is treatable



Leavins, father of two and husband to Brianna, also has been diagnosed with CML.

Leavins’ CML was discovered after a routine physical at the beginning of October.

Blood work showed his white blood count was critically high.

“God placed Caleb and Jennifer (Davidson) in my family’s life several years ago,” Leavins said. “Little did I know as Caleb and I worked together that God would lead us down this road. The first year I attended Cancer Freeze was life-changing. I immediately felt God’s pull on my heart to be involved with this organization. I truly believe Caleb and Jennifer are fulfilling God’s calling on their lives through Cancer Freeze.”



Miller, a freshman in high school, is described as “the athlete, class clown, the ‘all American’ teenage boy” was diagnosed in March 2014 with CML.

“We were out for spring break 2014,” Miller said. “I hadn’t really been feeling great but we all just thought I was tired from keeping up with all that was required of my new high school activities. It was the Sunday before school started back. I had just finished playing tag football with my brothers and cousins. I told Mom that my side was hurting and asked her to make me a doctor’s appointment.”

Within an hour, they were headed to Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast before being transferred to Sacred Heart in Pensacola, where doctors confirmed CML.


Parrish, 16, was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma.

“I battled a cough for about two to three months,” Parrish said. “It got to the point where I was missing school, and couldn’t sleep unless I was sitting up.”

Parrish said in June, her stepfather took her to the hospital because she couldn’t breathe.

“Whenever the doctor began taking x-rays of my chest, I knew it was something a little more serious,” she said. “Whenever the doctor came into the room to tell me the results I could tell by the look on his face that it wasn’t good news. He began telling me that I had a mass of something on my lungs, and they weren’t sure about what it was.”

Parrish was referred to Sacred Heart in Pensacola, where she had a CT scan.

Parrish needed a biopsy to properly diagnose the problem.

“The doctor had told me earlier that day that if I woke up from surgery with a port in that I did have some type of cancer,” Parrish said. “When I woke up from surgery, of course, the first thought that came to mind was ‘do I have a port?” I turned over to see my mom sitting there leaned over praying. I asked her ‘do I have a port?’ Sadly the answer was ‘yes.’”



Morgan, a husband and father of two daughters and a stepson, was diagnosed with B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Morgan, an avid outdoorsman, noticed a “knot” on his left cheek. Then a month later, a second knot showed up on the back of his head.

More knots began showing up, and in August 2012, he presented cold-like symptoms.

A trip to see Dr. Roger Boyington showed he had pneumonia. After several repeated diagnoses of pneumonia, but no improvement to the knots, Morgan wound up in the emergency room at Andalusia Regional Hospital.

Dr. Angelo Agro performed a needle aspiration on Morgan, which came back positive.

A biopsy was then scheduled and Dr. Agro told the family it was cancer.

After rounds of chemo and hospital stays, Morgan was in remission in June 2013.

In January, Morgan felt a knot returning to his face.

He had another biopsy where he was told he had lymphoma again.

Morgan’s brother, Michael, donated 5 million stem cells to try to help him.

After a significant battle, the doctors confirmed in August that the donated stem cell transplant was growing and that Morgan was in remission once again.

Doctors are still deciding if Morgan will need another stem cell transplant.



Copeland, 21, was diagnosed in March with stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma.

“In December 2013, I started getting sick with what appeared to be upper respiratory infection,” Copeland said. “Soon after I was diagnosed, I began having severe pain in my feet.”

Copeland developed foot drop after the second treatment of chemo, which made it difficult to walk.

“My mom, who is a nurse, had to quit her job in order to care for me because I require full-time care,” he said. “Since my diagnosis I have had chemotherapy, multiple units of blood, been hospitalized several times, and developed a blood clot in my lung. Three times, I have nearly died.”

Copeland is currently undergoing chemo to prepare for a bone marrow transplant.




Newhouse, who has large B-cell Lymphoma, was rushed to the emergency room because of difficulty breathing.

Family members thought it was bronchitis, she had been diagnosed with just a week before.

Scans and X-rays at the hospital showed she had a tumor on her lungs.

She was sent to Sacred Heart for a biopsy, which couldn’t be performed due to a collapsed lung. She was transferred to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla.

In March, the family lost Newhouse for 17 minutes and then again for three minutes.

Newhouse has undergone six rounds of chemo and numerous hospital stays.

In October, she received news she is in remission.

Cancer Freeze will be held on Lake Jackson on Feb. 7.

The event will kick off with a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m.; a bass tourney at 7 a.m.; 5K walk/run at 9 a.m., including free inflatables for the kids, car show, shave your lid for a kid, balloon release, chili cook-off, water sports at Noon, live auction and raffle.