Meet our 2021 Colorado Take Steps Honored Hero: Marisa Scarnato
I know what you're thinking... "she doesn't look sick." To the eye, I look perfectly healthy like any other 21 year old should look. What you don't see is the countless surgeries, hundreds of clinical trials, and months that I have spent in the hospital to continue fighting this incurable disease.
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2006. At the young age of six years old, I could not truly comprehend what Crohn’s was, let alone how I was supposed to deal with a lifelong illness. As a six-year-old, I became very skinny, almost stick-like, with the worst pain imaginable for someone that age. This led to many procedures and clinical trials as doctors desperately tried to find the reason for my sickness. Their list of possible diagnoses even included cancer. Finally, the doctors diagnosed me with Crohn’s.
Although they found the answer to my pain there was no easy solution. The first surgery I had in sixth grade was very minor and it gave me little relief, foreshadowing my future surgeries. Four years later, I was at the point where I had tried every single possible treatment out there and nothing was working for me anymore. I could continue on this path of failing treatments or I had one more option to have an ileostomy procedure. To give my digestive tract a break, my small intestine is now attached to a medical bag outside my body. This surgery brought an onslaught of new challenges, requiring me to be more prepared and responsible. Just one year after, I had my colon removed. Although this surgery didn’t require any lifestyle changes, it was the most physically tolling surgery, needing weeks to recover.
Becoming the Honored Hero for the upcoming 2021 Take Steps Walk has allowed me to reflect on the past 15 years of having Crohn’s. Through my journey with Crohn’s, I have always had the support from my family, friends, doctors, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, and specifically the community here at the Rocky Mountain Chapter. I can’t thank my parents enough for what they have sacrificed for me to be where I am today, continuously fighting with me through this battle. Crohn’s has taken away a lot from me but for better or for worse (but definitely for better), Crohn’s has given me my friends, priorities, and characteristics. For something that has a lot of bad it sure has some good to it.