A walk around the track might not seem like a big deal for your typical teenager, but Marissa Kae Walker’s journey to get here has been anything but typical. 

When she was nine, Marissa was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer

“I had weeks of chemotherapy, and I had a limb salvage surgery in April of 2009, where they replaced my knee and femur with a prosthetic,” she said.

She was still growing, and that required surgery after surgery. 

“I would have to go in for an operation where they would lengthen my leg, so it would be these mini operations every 3 or 4 months,” she said.

She was alive, but her passion and love–playing sports–looked impossible. 

“I couldn’t play soccer, I couldn’t play basketball, I couldn’t run outside with my sister,” she said.

But the Waterford High School senior has fought through torturous days. 

“Chronic pain as an 18 year old girl is not something you should expect,” she says. 

She didn’t complain, and has become an all-around leader at Waterford High

Her positive attitude and effort earned her the National High School “Spirit of Sport award. 

Her motivation wasn’t to win awards, but to set foot on the field in the game she loves, and defying incredible odds, she played softball her senior year. 

“I’m not sure there’s another person on this planet that would even consider playing a sport after what she has been through,” said her uncle and softball coach.