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Make Sure Marissa Is Not Alone This Holiday Season

Your contributions to Marissa's journal this year made sure that they never felt alone. Your tax-deductible donation in Marissa's honor will make sure that Caringbridge continues to bring hope and healing to those who need it most.

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Marissa’s Story

Marissa Jean Monroe - Born on July 10, 2005 - Angel wings on June 13, 2008

big sister: Makenzie

little brother: Mason

mother: Tracy

father: Randy

On November 27, 2006 Marissa was diagnosed with stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma. Marissa's only symptom was a black eye that appeared out of the blue & wouldn't go away.

Marissa relapsed on October 19, 2007 with a spot on the MIBG scan on her skull above her left ear.



Neuroblastoma is a form of cancer that occurs in infants and young children. It is rarely found in children older than 10 years. The cells of this cancer usually resemble very primitive developing nerve cells found in an embryo or fetus. (The term neuro indicates "nerves," while blastoma refers to a cancer that affects immature or developing cells).

After several tests, two tumors were found in Marissa. One in her abdomen and one next to her left eye. Cancer has also spread in to her bone marrow. A biopsy of the tumor was sent to Los Angeles and the results are as follows:

Dr. Shimada's evaluation of the tumor biopsy: HIGH RISK

MYCN GENE: amplified / unfavorable

DNA PLOIDY: favorable

Shimada Classification: unfavorable

Marissa's Treatment:

  1. 7 rounds of high dose chemo- Bronson Hospital
  2. stem cell rescue/collection (10 million stem cells collected)- U of M
  3. remove tumor in abdomen 3/26/2007 - U of M
  4. 3F8 Antibody therapy-Sloan Kettering NYC (so far, 5 rounds of 3f8 and HAMA)
  5. a second stem cell collection (7 million stem cells collected)-Sloan Kettering, NYC
  6. 14 rounds of radiation, 2 times/day with sedation-Sloan Kettering, NYC
  7. 6 rounds of retinoic acid (Accutane), 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off- home (5 rounds completed)
  8. 8 rounds of lower dose chemo (Irinotecan and oral temador) NYC & Kalamazoo
  9. 12 rounds of radiation to her entire skull
  10. Many scans and bone marrow biopsies

Marissa relapsed on October 19, 2007 with 3 spots on her skull. This cleared after full skull radiation and 8 rounds of Irinotecan/Temador. It took 6 months for the spots on her skull to clear. On April 10, 2008 after her MIBG scan we found that Marissa now had a new spot of NB in the marrow on her spine between L3-L5. The NB is also in her bone marrow, but is microscopic. There is question if the NB is in her spinal fluid. On April 21, 2008 Marissa started more high dose chemo. On June 5, 2008 we were told that the cancer had spread everywhere in her body and there were no more treatment options. Marissa was sent home from MSKCC on hospice. Marissa became one of God's Angel's on Friday, June 13, 2008. She is forever loved and missed. Marissa was laid to rest on Tuesday, June 17, 2008.

www.lunchforlife.org Giving tree code 24348. Donate in Marissa's honor, proceeds will benefit new treatments.

****People have been asking what they can do to help us. We have a savings account set up in Marissa's name at FNB in Three Rivers, Centreville, Mendon & Constantine. Donations can be made under "Marissa Monroe". All of the money donated will help with travel expenses & medical expenses. Another idea would be to purchase Visa gift cards & mail them to us. The gift cards can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted. Thank you all for your help. We couldn't get through this without all of the amazing support that you have provided.

Latest Journal Update

Five Years

Today marks 5 years since Marissa went to Heaven....5 years.  It's hard to believe that it's been that long already.  We miss her like crazy.  It still feels like yesterday.  There's a constant void in our daily life, Marissa.  It was a few months ago I was at the cemetery and was thinking that it had been 3 years since Marissa passed away...then I realized that it was going to be 5 years and that Mason was already almost 3 years old.  So much has changed but so much has stayed the same as well.  

An update on our lives....Makenzie is now 11 years old and going into middle school in the Fall.  She started doing competitive cheer this summer (like the kind on ESPN, kinda scary!).  We will become busy with traveling this Fall through the Winter for her competitions.  Mason will be 3 years old in 5 more days!  He's a pistol...that's about all I can say about him!  We love him (and Kenzie and Rissy, of course) so much. He's brought a lot of joy into our lives.  He loves Makenzie so much and gets so excited when she gets home from somewhere.  He annoys the heck out of her...but he's a little brother, isn't that what he's supposed to do?   I will post some updated pictures of the kids in the photo album, they've grown so much.

Randy is getting ready to do his 5th annual Make A Wish bike ride in July.  300 miles in 3 days.  http://wam.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1038911&lis=1&kntae1038911=66515C3A9426428EB1149943F

Thanks for the continued support and prayers.