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Marissa’s Victory Over Ulcerative Colitis

2018 180 medical scholarship recipient marissa ostomy

In 2012, our founder Todd Brown decided to create a college scholarship program. Since that time, we’ve been proud to continue Todd’s dream in awarding scholarships to 7 deserving students each year.

In August, we announced our 2018 180 Medical College Scholarship Recipients. Now, we are excited to feature each one of them in our 2018 Scholarship Recipient blog series, so you can learn more about their achievements and plans for the future.

Keep watch on our blog and our Facebook page for future posts featuring the rest of our amazing recipients in 2018. A few weeks ago, we featured Kale and how he overcame a devastating diagnosis of Transverse Myelitis.

Today, we’d love for you to get to know Marissa!

marissa ulcerative colitis quote

Ulcerative Colitis Almost Derailed Her Dreams

marissa scholarship recipient 2018Marissa lived with a diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis for six years, but she kept hanging on to dreams of serving others through volunteering in the Peace Corps. She also planned on double majoring in environmental science and physics.

Her disease, however, continued to worsen. She was even hospitalized and kept on steroids for 2 months. Despite all of this, she studied abroad not once but twice and she graduated college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science.

Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the large intestine (colon). Ulcers develop which can cause mild to severe symptoms like persistent diarrhea, blood in stool, abdominal pain, cramps, weight loss, and fatigue.

marissa w with dogIt felt to Marissa like the threat of another severe flare-up was always somewhere on the horizon. Indeed, not long after accepting a job, she was hospitalized again.

All other treatment options were exhausted, so it was time to make a choice about her health and her future. She considered all that she still wanted to achieve with her life.

With this in mind, Marissa agreed to a series of surgeries that would create an ileostomy and ultimately cure her of Ulcerative Colitis.

After all that has happened, Marissa’s main focus is on how good it feels to be cured now.

Giving Back and Moving Forward

Since the years-long ordeal of living with a disease that took a toll on her body and her life, Marissa wants to do what she can to give back to others. Thanks to the ostomates who supported her during some hard times, she is now an ambassador for other patients considering ostomy surgery.

I have been given so much. I deeply need to give back.

Now that Marissa is living healthy and happy with her ostomy, she’s working toward new goals. Through earning her Master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon University, Marissa hopes to solve energy problems that affect the world.

We’re eager to see Marissa’s continuing positive impact as she makes her dreams a reality!

About 180 Medical’s Scholarship Program

You can find out more about our annual scholarship award at

Be sure to watch for announcements about the 2019 180 Medical College Scholarship coming soon! We will begin accepting new scholarship applications on January 1st, 2019.

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About the Author
Marissa’s Victory Over Ulcerative Colitis
Jessica is the Sr. Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical, and she has been with the company for over 14 years now. She loves getting to be creative in her role and hearing from customers about the positive impact we've made on their lives.

Outside of work, you can find her hanging out with her husband and their dogs or browsing garden centers (where she will almost certainly buy another houseplant she doesn't really need).