TYLER, Texas (KETK) — While everyone else her age was getting their driver’s license and celebrating their sweet 16, one Tyler teen was focused on surviving. At the early age of 16, Morgan Moss found out her life would never be the same.

“The symptoms started out slow,” said Morgan Moss. “So we didn’t really know what we were looking for, and my mom was very adamant.”

Moss’ mom, Angela Barter, said she had a gut feeling that her daughter was not okay.

“She was playing competitive soccer just about every weekend, and so we could kind of tell that, you know, she wasn’t feeling good,” said Angela Barter. “She was really tired.”

Moss went to her friends for support, sharing that something was wrong, but no one knew what.

One of those friends was Charlie Niles, someone Moss played sports with and had attended the Brook Hill School with since elementary school.

“It kind of shook me,” said Niles. “I mean, she was my best friend, and I was worried. I didn’t know a lot about what was happening. No one really did.”

In August 2014, Moss started her junior year of high school when the Tyler teen received the life-altering diagnosis that she had a brain tumor.

“I was in denial,” said Moss. “I was really like angry. I think I had a lot of other things going on. I felt like it was a real inconvenience.”

Moss discovered that she had a rare disease called Cushing’s Disease, with the tumor sitting on the pituitary gland in her brain.

“I had lost a lot of my hair, and I’d always had pretty thick hair, and then the athletic side of it was another key indicator,” said Moss.

It got to the point where the young athlete could not ignore the signs, especially when it started affecting her game on the soccer field.

“I was having a lot of trouble just running, keeping up,” said Moss. “I wasn’t sleeping that much, but I was like in bed all the time because I was tired. I started losing my vision, and I started having like, these weird skin pigmentations.”

As Moss’s symptoms worsened, she realized it was game over for her athletic career and that it was time to get serious about getting brain surgery.

“As I like kind of matured and really, I mean, relied heavily on the Lord, he just really changed my perspective,” said Moss. “I knew that at the time, that was going to be the only way to get me through it.”

Moss’ condition progressively worsened, forcing her to begin homeschooling in December 2014.

“Once I was taken out of school, a lot of it was really hard to keep up with my friends; I felt alone,” said Moss.

A few months later, she had brain surgery, but when the surgery took hours longer than expected, Barter knew there was a problem.

“That was a gut punch,” said Barter. “So the doctor was amazing. But it was supposed to be like a three, four hour surgery ended up being, you know, six and a half. So I knew something was not, probably wasn’t going to be great news.”

Barter was hoping to end her daughter’s pain only to find out the doctor could not.

“Even after hearing the news that they weren’t able to get the whole tumor, I knew that for whatever that reason may be, that was the Lord’s plan,” said Moss. “And so I continued to be grateful that they at least got some of it.”

Moss never saw her tumor as a loss and was determined to live life to the fullest.

“Her middle name is Grace,” said Niles. “And I think it kind of sounds cliche, but that’s exactly how she handled it, just with grace. I mean, God was at the center of everything she was going through.”

After Moss graduated high school, she headed to Texas A&M University for college.

“Once I graduated in May of 2020, I moved back to Tyler, where I’m from, and then I started a new job,” said Moss.

For seven years, Moss managed her symptoms, living a semi-normal life.

“Her symptoms, you know, started getting worse,” said Barter. “And you could kind of see through the years, but I mean, it wasn’t going to do any good to say anything. She was absolutely not going to hear about doing anything until she was done with college.”

Soon after moving home and starting her career, she was ready to admit something was wrong.

“It took me a while to go to the doctor because I think I knew deep down that’s what it was, that it had grown back,” said Moss.

This time, she had a different mindset going into the surgery.

“I just had a different feeling about it, that they were going to be able to get the whole tumor and that I was going to be able to live a healthy normal life,” said Moss. “And so that’s really what ended up happening after the surgery.”

After years of on-and-off doctor appointments that usually ended with a “punch in the gut,” Moss went in for her one-year checkup in July 2022 and finally received good news.

“Getting told ‘Go, Go live your life; we don’t want to see you for another year,'” said Barter. ‘”We’ll do yearly checkups. And that’s it.’ I mean, you’re like… ‘what?'”

The now young adult only had one question for her doctor.

“When I went back for my one-year appointment, the first thing that I asked her, I was like, ‘so I already bought my skydiving ticket. Is that okay?’ And her eyes just coming up big, ‘you were really serious about that, weren’t you?’ and I’m like, ‘yeah like this is, this is fun, I want to I want to do everything,'” said Moss.

Finally, tumor-free, and the first thing on her mind was skydiving.

“I knew that that was something that I had always wanted to do, since probably middle school, it’s been on my bucket list,” said Moss.

Even Niles said it was something her friend had always talked about wanting to do.

“Her being able to have energy to do all these things that she loves is awesome — and just watching her be able to do cool things,” said Niles. “Like she just went skydiving. And I know she’s always wanting to do that. So it’s been really cool.”

After praying for so long, their prayers were answered.

“I think once the shock of like, ‘oh my gosh, she’s really gonna do this,'” said Barter. “I was like, ‘You know what? go for it. Go for it.'”

Two days after the appointment, the 24-year-old jumped out of a plane in celebration.

“It was so much fun,” said Moss. “And it just kind of reminded me too, like how thankful I am for what, you know, the Lord has done up until this point, what he’s going to continue to do.”

She clung to her faith through it all, and one year later, she was able to take a leap of faith.