Azusa Pacific University student, Anthony Morrell, entered a horror contest in order to raise money for his quadriplegic father. 

Richard Morrell is living proof that life can still exist after an unexpected tragedy. The 49-year-old quadriplegic states that he relies heavily on his faith and family after the incident that left him paralyzed. 

Richard’s son, Anthony Morrell, a 27-year-old in his third year of nursing school at APU, recently entered a horror contest in hopes that he could win some money to buy his dad a wheelchair and a better bed. 

Anthony has entered a horror contest, with hopes to win $13,000 to help tailor towards his father’s needs. Each vote counts as a $1 dollar pledge to the foundation. The organization will provide families with financial support, financing money towards finding ways to combat childhood cancer and raising awareness of the illness. The voting for the top 10 ends Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. PST.

Anthony’s younger brother, Brandon Morrell, is also a nursing major at Azusa Pacific University. Brandon was surprised when he found out his brother entered a horror contest for their father. He said he was unaware that Anthony entered the contest until his brother told him to vote for him. Even though Brandon was caught off guard, he thinks it’s a great opportunity for his brother to raise money for their dad. 

The Morrell siblings grew up watching scary films with their family, such as “Friday the 13th” or ”The Exorcist,” so it was only fitting for Anthony to have entered a horror contest. Because the Morrell family often bonded over watching scary movies together, Anthony’s participation in the horror contest is especially meaningful. When asked who got the most scared during the movies, Brandon, Anthony’s brother, wasn’t too quick to give up the answer. 

Anthony’s father couldn’t express his gratitude enough when he found out his son entered a contest for him. As younger brother Brandon mentioned, Anthony is always thinking about their father before himself.

“He always thinks about our dad first to see what things he can get for our father,” Brandon said. 

It’s Anthony’s devoted love for his father that allows him to be such an attentive caregiver, and he is determined to make his father’s life more comfortable. 

“He’s helped make me the man I am today, so I want to be able to give back to him,” said Anthony. 

Along with the fulfillment and bonding that comes with caring for his father, the nursing student explained how being a caregiver also gave him an advantage in his classes. During the interview, Anthony explained how his father eats through a feeding tube and has to be ventilated. 

“There’s been a major learning curve taking care of him,” Anthony said, but the prior experience has evidently helped him with his clinicals. Anthony says he enjoys this type of work and is thinking about working in the ICU one day. 

However, Anthony doesn’t work alone when it comes to taking care of his father. His two siblings and mother are also caregivers for Richard, and in return, they are able to spend quality time with him. Although Anthony described his family as close-knit before the incident, they have only gotten closer since.

The Morrell family could never have predicted Richard’s unforeseen circumstance when his disk slipped and pinched his spinal column. The former drug counselor recalls not being able to move anything, a scary feeling for him. However, Richard said that God continues to work miracles in his life. 

“Every time that I think it’s over, that it’s time to die,” Richard said, “[God] creates a miracle and brings me back from the brink of death.”

Before, Richard thought he was already doing a great job of winning souls to Christ, but since the incident, he has been able to reach many more people through social media. Even though he can no longer be physically active, Richard is still able to inspire others through sharing scripture that encourages people to turn their eyes to God whenever a hardship occurs in their life. 

“God told me to help inspire people and to bring more people to Him,” Richard said.

Although Anthony’s father was a former drug counselor, his situation no longer allows him to continue his work. However, past clients still reach out to him and tell him how they are staying off drugs. Richard takes great pride in how his clients are bettering their lives. 

“I took pride in their happiness, and that they were turning their lives around,” he said.

Even though hardships may occur in our lives, the Morrells demonstrate how love and faith are the key components for overcoming any obstacle. Their family truly represents the best of us.