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A miracle in Douglas: Ashton's Field of Dreams is now a reality

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Ashton Morgan throws out the first pitch at the dedication ceremony of his Field of Dreams Saturday, July 23, with former Major League player and coach Greg Walker. David Rodriguez/DouglasNow.com Ashton Morgan throws out the first pitch at the dedication ceremony of his Field of Dreams Saturday, July 23, with former Major League player and coach Greg Walker.
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A young man with a dream. A life-threatening illness. A community committed to making a positive difference. It has all the makings of a miracle – and that’s exactly what happened in a small neighborhood off Highway 158 East yesterday near Douglas.

Ashton Morgan is five years old. The son of Terry and Tamara Morgan, Ashton has been battling medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer, for the last three years. Despite the challenges he’s faced, Ashton has remained positive and active. The illness may have robbed him of his health but it hasn’t taken his dream – a dream the entire Coffee County community helped make happen on July 23.

Ashton has always wanted his own baseball field. While that seems like an impossible dream for most kids, the Make-A-Wish Foundation makes the impossible come true. Make-A-Wish got involved in Ashton’s dream several years ago. Though it took a long time to happen, Ashton’s dream became a reality this week.

Most of the community didn’t know about the project going on east of town. Make-A-Wish doesn’t make a big deal out of its work. As the project progressed, however, more and more community members learned of what was going on and donated time, materials, and funds to the project. Once the field was finished, people began talking about a dedication ceremony. It wouldn’t be fitting to finish something like this and not celebrate its completion, they thought.

As the project was growing, something else was growing as well. Cancer doesn’t care about baseball fields, the dreams of little boys and girls, or even their very lives. The cancer launched a full-scale assault on Ashton’s brain and tripled in size from April to July. The prognosis wasn’t very promising. Ashton had a rough time during the week of July 11 and had to be rushed to Atlanta for treatment. It was so serious that at least one local church called an emergency prayer meeting for Ashton on Saturday, July 16.

While Ashton was in Atlanta fighting for his life, people in Douglas were talking. Those who knew about the field wanted to do something for Ashton, something that would make his baseball field all the more special. They wanted to hold a dedication ceremony for what had become known as Ashton’s Field of Dreams and they wanted to do it on Saturday, July 23. With less than a week to pull it off, they began planning. Using the various forms of social media, word began spread. The American Legion got involved. Ultimate Graphics made banners to hang around the field to show support for Ashton. Someone decided the best way to open a baseball field was to play a baseball game. So volunteers organized a game to go along with the ceremony.

Ashton rallied in Atlanta and made it back to Douglas in time for the ceremony. Saturday afternoon, he was out there in his uniform, laughing, playing, and enjoying time with his friends – both old and new. Former Major League player and coach Greg Walker helped Ashton throw out the first pitch and presented him several special gifts, among them a Freddie Freeman autographed Atlanta Braves jersey. Hundreds of people celebrated with Ashton. Then kids from all over the community took to the field for a game in Ashton’s honor.

Ashton’s future remains uncertain. At just five years old, he’s facing an all-or-nothing fight for survival. Cancer is a formidable foe, one that shows neither compassion nor mercy. It is relentless and untiring, and it assaults family and friends as much as it does the patient. Like the family of any childhood cancer victim, the Morgan family has literally walked through hell the last three years. “Terry and I have prayed, cried, and agonized over what is best for Ashton,” Tamara Morgan wrote in a Facebook post earlier this week. But for a brief time Saturday, cancer took a backseat to happiness, joy, and the indescribable love that comes from family and friends united behind a common cause.

On July 23, Ashton Morgan wasn’t a cancer patient. He was a baseball player enjoying the game he loves on his own Field of Dreams. It was a day neither he nor his family will ever forget. 

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