Sometimes its hard to find the light in the middle of the dark. Imagine you’re a newlywed who finds out you have cancer. In tonight’s feature story, with the help of friends, a Wenatchee woman had a light shine brightly for her last Friday. NCWLIFE’s Eric Granstrom has more. . .
Wenatchee natives Marissa Collins and Will Person got married at Ohme Gardens on a serene July afternoon in 2019. In August, Mr. and Mrs. Person celebrated their union heartily, surrounded by family and friends. In September, Marissa made the emotional decision to leave her job of eight years and start—in her words—“an incredible new job.”
Their life, as husband and wife, was taking shape, and Will and Marissa talked of starting a family. Also, in September of 2019, 31-year-old Marissa Person was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Instead of honeymoon, couple prepares for bilateral mastectomy
They should have been planning a honeymoon, but the couple began planning for an October bilateral mastectomy. Instead of planning for little Persons, they prepared for Marissa’s first chemotherapy infusion in December. In anticipation of the challenges ahead, Marissa was forced to cut her work hours to part-time and irregular.
The days immediately following Christmas found her in the hospital as she and her doctors struggled to adjust to her body’s reaction to the “cocktail” of drugs newly introduced to her system. And, every three weeks, for months, she would be back for more. But, Marissa’s consistent, upbeat, positive, and beaming personality held strong through all of it.
Final cancer treatment celebration hampered by coronavirus
On April 3, 2020 Marissa completed her final chemotherapy infusion, alone. With radiation and reconstruction still ahead, but so much already conquered, Marissa was deserving of a milestone celebration. However, the Coronavirus pandemic caused new rules at the local clinic preventing anyone from accompanying her to her final treatment. Marissa’s compromised immune system, combined with extended stay-at-home orders, meant there would only be Will waiting to hug her at home.
COVID-19 may have changed the celebration, but nothing could stop it. Marissa’s friends and family got creative. Friends sent her to the clinic on April 3 with a thumb drive and strict instructions to watching the video. Messages and bell ringing could be seen throughout. The nurses lined the halls holding handmade signs of support as she walked out of her final session.
Friends and family welcome Person home with parade in her honor
Then, friends and family congregated on her street in anticipation of her return home. Car horns blared. Decorated signs of encouragement were displayed. Pink flowers were waved, and more bells were rung, as Will drove Marissa into her driveway. In an impromptu finale, everyone got in their cars and paraded past Marissa. All were cheering, while she jumped for joy on the sidewalk, and waved back at her parade!
Finally, some cheerful news in what has been a struggle for Marissa Person. And for the rest of us adjusting to a new “normal.” For NCWLIFE Channel News I’m Eric Granstrom.
(Thanks to Sara Higgins for the story and video)