Marissa Ierna, Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma

17 Years Old at Diagnosis

Marissa IernaIn February of 2012, a simple bug bite sent me on a path to a cancer diagnoses. The bite on my right lower calf eventually went away, but the bump underneath did not. My parents became concerned and took me to the hospital, where I was diagnosed with stage 4 alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.

At first, my family was in shock. Neither my parents nor I would have ever have imagined I would be diagnosed with cancer. My treatment was aggressive with 54 weeks of outpatient and inpatient chemotherapy, and six weeks of photon therapy radiation. My year-long battle with cancer was tough and has changed my life forever.

Today, I am two years and four months cancer free. I am a full-time student at Florida State University, pursuing my degree in communications. My goal is to work for a non-profit or hospital in the future to help other children going through life-threatening illnesses. I believe I am alive because of my treatments, made possible through innovative research, and a positive attitude.

I support CureSearch because I believe all children diagnosed with cancer deserve a chance to turn their lives into something amazing. With the funding CureSearch provides, more children will survive cancer because only research will continue to make a real difference in the search to find cures.

Marissa Ierna
2015 Event Chair, Jacksonville CureSearch Walk

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