A picture of my beautiful daughter, Marisa Rose Tufaro, affixed with medical tape to the wall above her hospital bed, starkly contrasted the child lying below.
Marisa’s gorgeous brown eyes — brighter than stars and the most distinguishing characteristic of her angelic face — were now hidden behind gently closed lids and stunningly long lashes as she peacefully drifted from this world to her rightful place in heaven.
The photograph of Marisa, smiling naturally under a navy blue baseball cap bearing the logo of the San Antonio Missions, a minor league team we watched play during a favorite family vacation, captures her quintessence and is the way she should forever be remembered.
A heart transplant, which was supposed to extend Marisa’s life, tragically cut it short after a postoperative complication developed into a rare form of Stage IV cancer to which she succumbed following a valiant battle.
Born with a complex cardiac defect, Marisa, who survived six open-heart surgeries and life-threatening comorbidities prior to transplant, died yesterday at the age of 13, nearly seven months after receiving an organ donor’s ineffable gift. Continue reading