Warning: This video contains graphic imagery.
Marisha Dotson’s battle with skin cancer began in 2014 when she noticed a red bump on her nose, and the disease has been relentless. Dotson has received 30 different procedures, including seven major surgeries, to combat the illness.
Marisha was taking a full schedule of credits and working three jobs when she first noticed the spot, which she thought was a pimple. However, the bump didn’t go away and a biopsy confirmed that she suffering from squamous cell carcinoma, which is a common form of skin cancer. Doctors removed about 2/3 of the cartilage in her nose, leaving a gaping hole in her face. They later used skin from her forehead and scalp to replace parts of her nose.
But the cancer kept coming back, despite radiation therapy and seemingly endless surgeries, Dotson continued to fight for her life. Bogged down by medical bills, she set up a GoFundMe to seek help from strangers and her heroic story came to light. Marisha and her brother lost their mom when they she was only sixteen years old. She says that she’s gotten support from her church but that she’s been forced to largely raise her brother by herself.
In May of 2014, she graduated with three degrees and though the cancer took over her life for a long time, she’s able to stay positive. She explained to the Today.com “I am so happy to be alive and I don’t want to waste any moment of it. I try to inspire others. It is OK to feel what you feel. You are strong enough to make it through it.”