One year ago today, we lost Marisa. Only a few short months after her passing, five of her family members signed up to train for the Nike Women's Marathon.
The following was written by a fellow TNTer.
"Our Honored Teammate MARISA ANN GALLEGO August 20, 1991 – April 18, 2008 Marisa Ann Gallego was an excelling junior, at Mountain View High School.
On May 29, 2007, Marisa Ann Gallego was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) which is a fast growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. She had to undergo five rounds of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy left Marisa unable to fight any type of infection. She was in and out of the hospital after her diagnosis. Marisa was in remission in November, December and January. In February, Marisa was to have her stem cells harvested and frozen in the case that the cancer would return.
Unfortunately the Leukemia had returned and again Marisa was given chemotherapy, the chemo did not put her in remission so she got another round within two weeks. Her blood count would not return to normal, she was transferred to the Bone Marrow Transplant Center were she was to receive a blood cord transplant, but as they prepared her they found that her heart was failing. They put her in ICU on April 16th and put her in on a ventilator to give her heart a break, her organs began to shutdown and on April 18th we learned that her Leukemia had returned and her breathing tube was removed.
Marisa was sixteen years old. Marisa was a very special young lady she touched the lives of all those she met. Even with all the pain she was going through she always had enough strength to give everyone that would come her way a smile."
I got a chance to meet Marisa's family, and they gave me a bracelet that said "iMAGine a cure", the MAG standing for Marisa Ann Gallego. I wish I could have known her- the way her family describes her is so full of love and joy.
Hearing her story and seeing her family's grief is just one more reason that I continue to do this- I need to keep training to stop this from happening.