Marisa was diagnosed in July 2016. As a junior lifeguard she was running around on the beach and realized her right leg was beginning to have lots of pain. She started with MAP, leg surgery, and lung surgery. Several times she was NED for several months but this horrible disease kept coming back. In addition to the first two surgeries Marisa had three more lung surgeries and two spine surgeries and one round of radiation. She also did three different rounds of trial drugs at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles but all ended in relapse.
Even when her Kaiser doctors told us two times it was the end and there was nothing more they could do, as a family we continued to fight. The first time it happened was in June 2019. We were able to find some new outside doctors who helped us think outside the box and Marisa was able to recover and get two more good years out of life. The second time was in August 2021. Again we found some new outside doctors that helped us get on another path to fight, unfortunately we did treatment for almost two months before the cancer took her life.
Marisa knew cancer was always going to be an aspect of her life but was adamant it was not going to define her. She was going to be known first & foremost for other things…being a great daughter, big sister, someone who did amazing creative art projects, had a good sense of humor, was smart, was a good friend, got excited about holidays, put together a plan & then did the hard work to accomplish it, helped the environment, loved animals, pursued adventures to various places, cared about people’s feelings, helped others, was fun to hang out with, etc. Marisa fought cancer to the bitter end & lived her life to fullest the whole time despite it. While cancer took her life, she won at living life when she had it. In this sense she won her battle with cancer. Even though she died from cancer in Oct. 2021, it never overcame her spirit!
A world with less toxic, more effective treatments and a cure for osteosarcoma.
We are devoted to creating and instilling hope with and for our inclusive and collaborative osteosarcoma community. We do this through mutual trust, transparency and compassion.