Northwest Ohio Building Trades help 3-year-old fight cancer

Members of the Northwest Ohio Building and Construction Trades and a Wisconsin subcontractor raised over $15,000 to help a local family battle childhood cancer.

Elijah Morrissey, son of UA Local 50 member Tim Morrissey, was diagnosed with Stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma and finished his fourth round of chemotherapy shortly after celebrating his third birthday in December.

According to the American Cancer Society’s website, neuroblastoma is a rare form of childhood cancer that “starts in certain very early forms of nerve cells found in an embryo or fetus” and most often occurs in infants and young children. It is rarely found in children older than 10.

Tim and his wife Samantha are hopeful the next round of treatments, which will take place at one of the country’s leading pediatric cancer centers, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, will save their son’s life.

Tim Morrissey holds his daughter, while his wife Samantha holds Elijah.

The money raised by members of the Northwest Ohio Building Trades will defray costs of what is hopefully a lifesaving trip.

Days after the Elijah was diagnosed with cancer, NWO Building Trade members raised nearly $2,000 by taking an initial collection at the Oregon Clean Energy project jobsite. In many instances, a little bit more might trickle in, but in this case, the donations kept coming.

The spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood, of comradery shared by building trades members was truly on display at the Oregon Clean Energy project, where Tim works as a UA Local 50 pipefitter.

Despite Elijah’s diagnosis, Tim continued to work at Clean Energy Plant, pushing thoughts of his son out of his head to safely perform quality work.

As a father of five children, Morrissey knew he had to continue to earn a paycheck in order to take care of his family and AZCO, his contractor, was gracious in letting him attend to his family needs, while still putting in hours at the jobsite.

Elijah Morrissey, far right, is pictured with his three brothers.

Scott Lopez, President of the Northwest Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council said Tim’s fellow building trades members on the jobsite understood that if Tim was not working, he would not get paid. They were willing to make a small sacrifice to help one of their own in this time of need.

“The way Tim holds himself as part of the team and doing his small part of the big picture show his humbleness. Going to work every day without a complaint and giving his all mentally and physically during this demanding time in life shows his commitment to his family and career,” said Lopez.

When his fellow tradesmen and tradeswomen learned of the situation, they wanted to help.

“Northwest Ohio Building Trades members are a caring and giving group of people made up of aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers,” said Lopez, who is also the Business Manager at UA Local 50. “Everyone knows the trials and complications brought on to a family from this disease, making it that much easier to lend a helping hand.”

The Morrissey family received $15,000 from members of the NWO Building Trades and contract AZCO to help their 3-year-old son Elijah (far left) battle Stage 4 cancer.

Morrissey was surprised to learn a couple of foreman donated the difference between their foreman pay and journeymen pay to him.

According to Morrissey, the General Foreman on the project cancelled a safety lunch and donated the money they were going to spend on food to Morrissey. AZCO was approached to donate to the family and they matched the amount the trades raised.

“I’ve never seen this type of generosity in a contractor, especially one traveling throughout the area, deciding to write a check like this,” said Morrissey.

Overall, tradesmen and AZCO combined to raised more than $15,000 for Elijah.

Tim said he and his wife Samantha were speechless to learn the amount of money raised for their son and thankful for the generosity.

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