TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - “Dana was vivacious, full of life, loved to party...so leukemia was the last thing you would expect to hear from someone that was always moving.”
A devastating diagnosis found its way into the Morgan family in September of 2008.
Their four year old daughter, Dana, was normally an active kid. But when she started taking naps during the day, Michelle said they knew something was wrong.
After a few trips to the hospital, Scott remembers his wife asking the doctors point blank.
"you asked the pediatrician 'should I go home and pack a bag?' They said yes and we started treatment that day” said Scott.
Dana was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
But there was one glimmer of hope in it all. A high percentage of survival. In fact, doctors told the Morgan's Dana had a 97% chance of survival.
"If you have to hear a diagnosis of leukemia with your child this is the best case scenario.” said Michelle, remembering back to what the doctors told her.
Dana kept her spirits high throughout treatment. She would go through 2 and a half years, and then relapse again at the age of 10 leading to more years of treatment.
When she neared the end of her second round, Dana make a request on how they could celebrate.
"That we would would go out to eat at her favorite restaurant. And we thought, sure that’s easy. But she would get to eat dessert first. And we never got to do that.” said Michelle.
In January of 2015, Dana would become part of the three percent. She passed away from complications due to the treatments.
Three months later the Morgan family created a way to honor her memory. By doing one simple thing: encouraging others to eat dessert first.
It turned into Eat Dessert First Day- always landing on the third weekend of April in honor of Dana's birthday, April 21st. Michelle said Dana always thought big, so they decided to celebrate for the full weekend rather than one day.
Since Eat Dessert First Day began in 2015, the Morgan’s have raised nearly 35 thousand dollars for cancer research.
This year 26 restaurants at 32 locations are donating all their dessert sales to Make a Wish.
And even if you can't make it out to one of the locations, Michelle suggests celebrating at home.
"Bake a cake, get a gallon of ice cream. And whatever you do, celebrate life. Celebrate the sweetness of life.” said Michelle.
For more on how you can donate or to find locations visit: https://eatdessertfirstday.org/