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Morristown basketball star sees outpouring of support after leukemia diagnosis

Residents of Morristown and neighboring communities have embraced the "#QStrong" movement in support of Quinton Batton.

MORRISTOWN, Ind. — A small Shelby County community has become closer than ever as they support a local teenager who is fighting leukemia.

Morristown loves its basketball and one player on the high school basketball team needs the community's support more than ever. 

In a town known for its yellow school colors, you'll notice a whole lot of orange. Orange ribbons are everywhere, supporting Quinton Batton, a star on the court for the Morristown Yellow Jackets.

"The diagnosis that they thought it was was fatal. So when we get the phone call that it was just leukemia, it's a whole lot better than being fatal," said Quinton's mother, Deena. "We have a name, we have something to fight against and it's a whole lot better than what we thought it was initially."

The school day goes on without the classmate they call "Q" while he's in the hospital, but you can see and feel Quinton's presence throughout the hallways. Basketball is taking a backseat to real life.

"I believe it put into perspective how quickly things can change and just to take it one day at a time and to make the most of it," said Nick Stidham, one of Quinton's teammates on the Yellow Jackets basketball team.

Neighboring schools are now supporting the #QStrong movement, as well. Shelbyville's football team recently wore wristbands with Batton's #33 on them. At Friday night's football game between New Palestine and Greenfield-Central, rival fans wore orange instead of their traditional school colors to show support. The New Pal cheerleaders wore orange "Q Strong" t-shirts at the game.

"It's still just a community of love. We talk about how God's brought all these people into our lives at different points. They're not maybe blood relatives, but they're family," Deena Batton said.

One extended family supporting their own. Quinton will miss his senior season of basketball, but his coach still has high expectations for his star player.

"I texted him the other day and said, 'You're not done with this. You're still the captain on this team,'" said Morristown head coach Collin McCatt. "I know he's going to leave in not exactly the way he thought he was this year, it's going to look different, but you're still the leader, you're still the captain of this team and I still expect pretty big contributions from you."

Quinton's fight is just beginning. His family is leaning on their faith and friends.

"The first night we were in the hospital, he said, 'Mom, I think I've known that something's been wrong with me and I just didn't know how to say what it was,'" his mother said. "He's probably been braver than we have through the whole thing. He's courageous, he doesn't bat an eye when it's time for chemo, he gets up and he's just ready to move on to the next step. So I think that makes him pretty special."

The next time you see the color orange, think of Quinton Batton, the basketball player that's bringing a community together without even making a basket.

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