Just another kid.

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Marissa is just another kid. She likes doing girl stuff… she likes to dance… and doesn’t feel like going to school from time to time.

There are plenty of days though, that she would love to be in school. Those days come more often than you might think because every few weeks Marissa and her mom get to go to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital for an infusion. Rumicade is a potent cancer treatment medicine that Marissa receives – not to treat cancer but for a severe case of Crohn’s Disease which has attacked her body.

I say “get” to go to the hospital because that’s kind of the way Marissa looks at things. She “gets” to go and enjoy the company of some awesome nurses she considers her friends. She “gets” to go enjoy a fabulous lunch with her mom at Cardinal Glennon’s top notch cafeteria. And she “gets” to have Rumicade infused through an IV into her blood stream to battle the erosive effects of her very aggressive Crohn’s Disease.

2016-08-18 13.27.52Marissa’s infusion days have a bit of routine, now almost a year into the treatment. Sleep in. Drive to Cardinal Glennon, take a handful of pills, get an IV started, eat lunch, start the infusion… and sleep. That’s about all Marissa feels like doing during the infusion and for the rest of the day.

She’d rather go to school and laugh and giggle with her friends. She’d rather be dancing with her friends. She’d rather be doing just about anything.. but at this point in her life she knows… this IS her life… and while she doesn’t want Crohn’s disease to define her.. she believes… she knows that it is part of who she is.

And with wisdom and compassion that’s beyond many of us she simply states that living with Crohn’s has made her more compassionate and understanding… she tries not to judge others so quickly because she knows that we don’t always show outwardly the struggle that goes on inwardly.

Marissa isn’t really just a kid: she’s a strong, compassionate, resilient young lady… and pretty darn adorable too 😉

Moments in life: Marissa from Doug Howell on Vimeo.