Meet #GoGold Ambassador Marissa Ierna

The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund is proud to announce that Marissa Ierna will serve #GoGold Initiative Ambassador, and will make several appearances throughout Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to share information about the ways in which the Jay Fund strives to #BeThere for families tackling childhood cancer.

In her role as #GoGold Ambassador, Marissa will make appearances at various Jay Fund patient events, Impact Player Events and interview opportunities in the NY/NJ and Jacksonville metro areas.

Aside from being a bright, beautiful, passionate young lady, Marissa is also well-qualified to speak to the dramatic financial and emotional toll that childhood cancer takes on an entire family.  She was diagnosed on May 24, 2012, just two weeks before her high school graduation, with Stage 4 Alveolar Rhabodomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer.

Marissa during her final stages of treatment in 2013

As their world turned upside down, Marissa and her family found themselves in a position to make several difficult decisions. While the family began to assess the financial, emotional and practical burdens they now had to face, Marissa had choices of her own to make.  Forced to put her college plans on hold, she made a difficult decision to take a riskier route for her treatment in order to save part of her leg and maintain her ability to be active, because she loves sports and exercise.

On June 19, 2012, she started 54 weeks of chemotherapy.  At week 20, she went through six weeks of photon therapy.  One year after starting chemo on June 17, 2013 she completed her final chemotherapy treatment and on July 10, 2013 she was declared cancer free! She just reached her one year cancer free mark on July 10, 2014 with all scans clear!

During her treatment and to this day, the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund has been honored to BE THERE for Marissa, and she has done her part to BE THERE for us!  She’s always ready to volunteer and be a positive presence for Jay Fund patients and their families at every event.

Marissa is now going into her sophomore year of college at the University of North Florida. She is majoring in communications with the hope of obtaining a career in a non-profit organization. Marissa works part time at the YMCA. She is a patient ambassador at Nemours Children’s Clinic and involved in their Adolescent & Young Adult program.

Marissa says, “Cancer has shaped my life for the better! It has changed the way I think and the way I live my life! Cancer is not something that any child should go through, but at the end of my journey I realized that it’s not the cancer that defines the child, it’s the smile and attitude!”

Please join the Jay Fund’s #GoGold Initiative now!  Purchase a limited-edition t-shirt, participate in one of the #GoGold events taking place throughout September, or make a safe, secure online donation today.