Morgan Gulliver and excellence formed a great partnership during her four years at Stamford High School.
Last week she graduated No. 3 out of a class of 440 with a — this is not a typo — 4.8 grade point average.
Gulliver decided to play field hockey for the first time as a sophomore. That season she started on defense for the Black Knights as they won a second consecutive state title.
Gulliver went on to play for her school’s first-ever girls lacrosse and co-op hockey teams. Not surprisingly, this past year she was a captain on all three teams.
Gulliver had her eyes set on next year, when she would be attending MIT, start working toward a degree in engineering and play on the school’s field hockey team.
But late last month, a battery of tests conducted to find the cause of stomach problems that had been bothering her for months revealed she had lymphoma.
File this under when really bad things happen to really good people.
Gulliver agreed to discuss what is the biggest battle she will ever face. I met with her last night in the Manhattan hotel where she is staying this week while undergoing another round of chemotherapy. The treatments are expected to last between 6-8 months. She is deferring her freshman year at MIT, but most importantly the prognosis is good.
Not surprisingly, Gulliver is upbeat and has a strong support system. During the 45-minute interview I’m not sure she ever stopped smiling.
“It’s a scary thing and it is hard for people to deal with, but I know I am going to be OK in the end,” said Gulliver, who has spent more time cheering up her friends than perhaps they have her. “It’s like when you are on the field. You show determination. When you are down in a game, when you are losing, you keep fighting.”
My story on Gulliver will be running in Friday’s issue of the Advocate. I know you will come away inspired.