Marissa Jaye Lieblang
Born: Nov. 2, 2004 - Died: July 30, 2010
Marissa Lieblang was a beautiful little girl whose smile would light up a room every time she walked in. Her family and friends watched her learn to walk and talk and as she grew, and fell in love with her. One day after Marissa’s fifth birthday, that beautiful smile began to go away. Marissa was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor which quickly, and painfully, diminished her senses and skills. Marissa underwent many procedures and set backs that caused her to relearn to walk and talk a couple different times in the 8 months she battled this terrible disease. All the technology, doctors, nurses, and even prayers couldn’t save this beautiful little girl. We lost her before she turned six years old. The tragedy of this story is that she is only one of many. Every day this happens to other families, and believe me, their lives are changed forever.
During her struggle with this disease Marissa became close to a Watertown Police Officer who took on a pledge to have Marissa run (in a wheel chair) with him in a 5k race in Oconomowoc last fall. That race took place, however Marissa did not make it in person, but her spirit brought together a bunch of racers, family, and friends who attended that race in Marissa’s honor. “Team Marissa” set off with a memorial honoring her life and the people she personally touched in just over 5 years of life.
So many of us know that these terrible diseases are out there, but until you see a 5 year-old go through it, we fail to get the full impact. From one day healthy, to the next day not being able to walk. One can not imagine what a little child goes through not knowing why they all of a sudden cannot walk, talk, or do the things they did 24 hours earlier.
Since the death of my daughter, I have dedicated my life to finding a cure for cancer. It is my goal to defeat this disease so no parent ever feels the pain I do every day.
- Nikki Lieblang, Marissa's Mom