We had the good fortune of connecting with Latanya Morrison and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Latanya, how does your business help the community?
Our Foundation creates “WONDERFUL DISTRACTIONS” for Superhero Kids fighting life threatening Childhood Diseases. Which in turn creates BEAUTIFUL EVERLASTING MEMORIES for the entire family.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a full time housewife and a full time Volunteer for ABF. I am MOST PROUD of my Grandchildren they are AMAZING! I am excited about the WONDERFUL DISTRACTIONS our Foundation creates for the Superhero Kids we serve and their amazing families.
When my late 6 year old Grandson Ahmad “Captain Poodaman” Butler, lost his battle with cancer, I was overwhelmed with grief, anger, and disbelief. Not only did he die too soon but his death was quick and slow at the same time. Let me explain. I helplessly watched cancer destroy my Grandson. The process was slow and painful for him, the seconds seemed like hours and the minutes seemed like years. It’s like watching your Child being attacked by a grizzly bear in slow motion. You can’t help, all you can do is watch, hope, and pray. And you watch as this grizzly bear rips your baby to shreds, and you know it just a matter of time until your Child succumb from his wounds. I know this vivid description is too much for the average parent or person to even imagine. Well this is the reality for Children battling cancer and other life threatening diseases. A HORRID reality their families have to live with everyday.
Now back to my time analogy, It was just the opposite when I silently begged and prayed for more time with Captain Poodaman, my Superhero. The days seemed like minutes and the months seemed like hours. My vibrant, energetic, FULL OF LIFE GRANDSON died 8 months, 26 days, 3 hours, and 21 minutes after his diagnosis with an ependymoma of the brain (a rare form of brain cancer). I have tackled the very rewarding and sometimes daunting task of Supporting the needs of Children with cancer and other life threatening diseases. The lessons I have learned along the way, are lessons I thought I already knew. Which is time is precious, life is short, and does not make promises. So LOVE, CHERISH, and ENJOY those who hold your heart. Make sure those you love know how much you love them, through your actions and your words. These words are worth repeating, LIFE MAKES NO PROMISES!
I want the world to not only know but to REMEMBER, that in order for HUMANITY to exists we MUST care for one another! This is an ABF quote that our Foundation lives by. So whenever you see or hear about Forever Captain Poodaman! The Ahmad Butler Foundation you can be certain that we are working to save and support the earth’s most innocent inhabitants, OUR CHILDREN!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would bring my best friend to my home, where my friend can enjoy some of the best dishes in town, at my kitchen table. We would have the best time sitting in my cozy, but elegant back yard as we laugh and reminisce about the times we shared together while sipping on our favorite drinks. We would take a long drive to the shore. Where we would sit on the beach and crack open oysters and eat crabs as we enjoy the view, and the sound of the ocean waves kissing the shore over and over again. We would take long walks in the beautiful trails of Philadelphia parks, eat soft pretzels, cheesesteaks, and water ice. When its time to leave we would ask where did all the time go, and vow to visit sooner than later as we say our tearful good byes.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My general shout out would be to the AMAZING medical professionals from the security guards to the surgeons. They go above and beyond their call of duty EVERYDAY to apply magical metaphorical band-aids to the wounds and the hearts of Superhero Kids and their families throughout the world. They are the initial diagnosers, caretakers, comforters, and encouragers to Children that battle life threatening Childhood diseases. They hold the hands of their families and become their biggest resources, guiding them to Foundations like Forever Captain Poodaman! The Ahmad Butler Foundation (ABF) who’s mission is to support the needs fo these families during their storms.
My other shout out would be to the pillars of our Foundation. My ABF family, Keith Morrison, Gina Conallen, Marlena Benson, Susan Yerkes, Precious Davis, Collette Clark-Stelmach, Chrissy Del Rossi, Giovanna Bailey, and Ramona Butler. There are PLENTY of times when I feel depleted, and during these times they jump in and push me upright. They hide in my shadow, doing the work of our Foundation, and not caring about recognition. They are truly the wind beneath the wings of The Ahmad Butler Foundation. The Foundations accomplishments is due to their hard work. They are true HUMANITARIANS, motivated by our promise to the Superhero Kids we serve and their families.
My final shout out belongs to my late Grandson, Ahmad “Captain Poodaman” Butler, and his Mother- my daughter, Cierra Butler. Before Ahmad’s death I learned he wanted to be a Police officer. That didn’t surprise me, because Ahmad loved helping others. One day as I was racing Ahmad to St Christopher’s Hospital for Children’s Emergency Room, thinking that this was the last time I would have with him in his human form, and knowing his battle was close to being over. As blood trickled down his nose, Ahmad told me in a frail, barely above a whisper voice, that he was going to be a Police officer when he became an adult. His statement caught me off guard, because I knew he would forever be a kid and for him adulthood would never come. He then asked, if I thought he would be a good Police Officer? With a follow up question, asking me if I thought he was going to help a lot of people.
What do say to your dying Grandchild when he asked a question about and shares with you his adulthood goals? What do you say as he looks at you for reassurance and praise for choosing such an honorable, selfless, heroic profession? Although, I knew he would not make it to adulthood. You do what any grandparent would do when posed such inspiring thoughts. You allow him to live out his dream at that moment and then continue to honor his wishes long after his life on earth ends. I did EXACTLY THAT! I praised and encouraged him, and he looked at me with a smile that melted my heart and broke it at the same time. It was at that moment that I made a silent promise to my sweet Grandson that he would help a lot of people.
My daughter wanted to create a nonprofit in honor of her son, prior to his death. One that supported Children with cancer. Her ideas for the Foundation were amazing. But when she set out to do it, the devastation of losing her precious Child was just too much for her. I promised my daughter that I would take over and carryout her wishes. So, when I feel depleted, overwhelmed, and incompetent. I let my promise to my Grandson and my daughter become my helium, my tenacity, my confidence, and my guiding light.
During the times when that is not enough and I feel I can’t stand on my own, I fall back into the LOVING, RELIABLE ARMS of the pillars of The Ahmad Butler Foundation. And, not only do they catch me, but they push me upright, and hold me there until I can stand on my own again. Not only do I SHOUT OUT all of the aforementioned individuals but I LOVE THEM FOR MAKING ME A BETTER PERSON!