Have you ever met someone and just instantly knew they were an exceptional human? That’s how myself and my Co-Happy Heart Shopping Spree Coordinator Loretta Hodges felt this past Saturday when we had the privilege of meeting our very first Happy Heart Shopping Spree Recipient, Marissa Gootjes.
Marissa was diagnosed with Glioblastoma in Fall of 2017. Since than Marissa has been through so much at a time when life is supposed to be all about making memories with her friends and family, playing her beloved hockey and getting through high school. Instead Marissa has been battling the most aggressive form of incurable brain cancer, juggling doctors’ appointments, scans, intense treatments and traveling to and from Halifax to see specialist.
After hearing about everything Marissa has been going through, we immediately knew we wanted to do something special for her. Marissa is our third applicant and the first to choose a Happy Heart Shopping Spree. We took her, her mother Jan and sister Madelyn out for the longest shopping day Marissa ever had! 7 hours of shopping, exploring the malls and a nice dinner.
What really stood out about this amazing 15-year-old was that she showed up with a Christmas list ready to shop not just for herself but for many others. Marissa had put a lot of thought into this. She wanted to get Christmas presents for her parents, both of her sisters, some family and a few of her friends too. She even wanted to make a trip to the pet store to get a gift for her dog and to pick up cat food for the SPCA as she had heard they were in need. Her generosity was absolutely heart warming.
Even after all she’s been through and continues to go through, Marissa still has the most beautiful heart. She has not been hardened by the trauma she has faces. She is strong, generous and fierce; an incredible young lady that we were absolutely delighted to meet and spoil for the day. I know that Braedon would have would have thought this shopping spree was absolutely awesome and his light shined bright as we delivered this Happy Heart Shopping Spree in his memory.
Sending so much love to the Gootjes Family
~Tiffany Agnew The Braedon Foundation Founder & Braedon’s Mom
“It was so nice to see Marissa having fun and being a normal teenager…” Jan Gootjes, Marissa’s Mom
Follow her story on Facebook at Marissa the Fierce One.