A trainee teacher lost her fight against cancer this week - but not before she showed others how to live life to the full.
Maurissa Clark (20), diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma when still a pupil at St Mungo’s High School, has spent the last four years battling the disease, undergoing 25 intense chemotherapy sessions and a bone marrow transplant.
Sadly the brave young lady from Stenhousemuir died on Tuesday in Glasgow’s Beatson Oncology Unit.
Mum Grace (61) said: “She was an amazing girl and it was an honour to have her with us for the short time she was.”
“She didn’t like people to see her when she was sick,” said dad Bobby (63). “She didn’t want to be one of the people who sits in the corner and have people say ‘oh that poor lassie’.”
Maurissa was far from that.
Although often very ill, she managed to fit fun and excitement into her last few years - meeting top Scottish stand-up Kevin Bridges when he visited the Beatson and rubbing shoulders with Simon Cowell, Ant and Dec and the rest of the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ gang.
Last year she went to see Katy Perry perform at Glasgow SECC and was invited into the star’s dressing room before getting up to dance on stage with her in front of thousands of fans.
After celebrating her 20th birthday at the Beatson on March 31, Maurissa was due to travel down to London to undergo a clinical trial, but the treatment had to be postponed. Unfortunately she then had a bad accident a few days later.
Grace said: “I would help her in and out of the shower every day. That day she thought she’d give me a nice surprise and come downstairs dressed, but she fell out of the shower and we had to take her to hospital.”
After her fall, Maurissa caught a chest infection and her health deteriorated quickly.
She dreamed of being a primary school teacher, but was only able to attend four days’ training at Glasgow University before becoming too ill to continue. She had teacher training placements which she was still hoping to attend later in the year.
“She loved children and would just light up around them,” said Bobby.
Brother Robert (22), who donated bone marrow to his sister, will be thinking about Maurissa when he graduates from Strathclyde University with a degree in finance later this year.
“Everyone else came first with Maurissa,” said Grace. “You would think she was the one graduating, she was so excited for Robert. I would get down and she would tell me ‘Mum, you have to keep going for Robert’.”
Although desperate to attend her recent fundraising dinner at Glasgow’s King’s Park Hotel, Maurissa was just too ill. The money raised will be split between Teenage Cancer Trust, the Beatson’s bone marrow unit and CLIC Sargent.
Maurissa’s funeral takes place at 9.30 a.m. on Saturday in St Bernadette’s Church.
“She will have a pink coffin,” said Grace. “She was our pink princess and loved the colour.”
Following their daughter’s wishes, the Clarks will then take her to Donegal, Ireland, where she will be buried alongside her grandparents.
If you want to donate to any of Maurissa’s chosen charities you can visit her website www.maurissaswish.org for more information.