KU basketball mom Angel Morris to receive 'Life Saver' award

Kansas University forwards Marcus Morris, left, and Markieff Morris, right, flank their mother, Angel, inside the Westin Times Square in New York on Wednesday, June 20, 2011. Angel was the first recipient of Headquarters Counseling Center's Life Saver Award.  The center is seeking nominations for its 2012 recipient.

Kansas University forwards Marcus Morris, left, and Markieff Morris, right, flank their mother, Angel, inside the Westin Times Square in New York on Wednesday, June 20, 2011. Angel was the first recipient of Headquarters Counseling Center's Life Saver Award. The center is seeking nominations for its 2012 recipient.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kansas University basketball player Thomas Robinson described Angel Morris as a second mother.

“Without her, I don’t know how I would have gotten over it or through it,” he said during a telephone interview after practice Wednesday.

Robinson’s mother, Lisa, died of an apparent heart attack last January, within a month of the deaths of his grandparents.

Morris, mother of former KU basketball stars Marcus and Markieff, stepped in to help in any way she could.

“It was truly devastating. That night was very hard. It was very hard,” she said. “He (Robinson) carried a lot on his back and I just talked to him, and we got through it. It was a long and hard process.”

Before Lisa died, she asked Morris to watch over her son. It’s a request that Morris continues to honor.

Morris said she talks to Thomas just about every other day on the phone and gets after him about his schoolwork.

LIFE SUPPORT REFRESHER

Headquarters Counseling Center is having its fourth-annual fundraiser called Life Support Refresher from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at Maceli’s, 1031 N.H.

The event will include a silent auction, live music, cocktails and international dining stations.

Angel Morris, mother of former Kansas University basketball stars Marcus and Markieff Morris, will receive the center’s first “Life Saver” award. She is being honored for her sacrifice and selfless actions to help others, including KU basketball player Thomas Robinson and his younger sister after the death of their mother, Lisa Robinson, last January.

Tickets are $50 for one or $80 for two and are available for purchase online at HeadquartersCounselingCenter.org or at the door.

Headquarters provides free and confidential counseling, education and information 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

“I know that his mother would want him to get a degree,” she said.

She also enjoys cooking for him and had him over to her Lawrence home just a couple of weeks ago.

“He just came and hung out with me, and we talked. We even cried at one point. He has his days, and I have mine too,” she said.

It’s that unwavering support that has led Headquarters Counseling Center to honor Morris on Friday as the first recipient of its “Life Saver” award.

Marcia Epstein, director, said Morris was chosen because she embodies Headquarters’ mission to provide unconditional life support to people in crisis.

“Our mission is about safety and emotional well-being, and we are trying to help people feel better and be safer,” she said.

Thomas Robinson, 20, said Angel Morris is “very deserving” of the honor. He described her as a genuinely caring person who doesn’t look for anything in return.

“She took me in and treated me as if I was her own kid,” he said. “She helped me get over that hump with everything that was going on.”

Today, he said they are closer than ever.

“She is my biggest supporter. … I love her for that,” he said.

Angel Morris plans to attend as many KU basketball games as she can while juggling her own sons’ NBA basketball games. She’s also taking care of her mother in Philadelphia who has been ill. She said she won’t miss Late Night in the Phog, the season’s kick-off extravaganza set for Oct. 14, and cheering on Robinson.

“He’s doing good, real good,” she said. “I’m so proud of him.”