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    Patient on a mission to help others after spine surgery

When Marichu Rosales Brun, 17, began experiencing numbness in her upper right thigh almost two years ago, the teenager knew something was wrong. After visits to doctors near her home in Colima, Mexico, the family learned Marichu had a thoracic spinal mass that threatened her mobility.

In August 2016, the family connected with Mayo Clinic's Office of International Services. The family would travel to Jacksonville, Florida, to see Dr. Clarence Watridge and  Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa — both Mayo neurosurgeons. They confirmed the lesion was compressing Marichu's spinal cord from approximately T10 to T12.

On Sept. 1, 2016, Drs. Watridge and Quinones-Hinojosa performed a T9-T11 laminoplasty. With ultrasound guidance, they detected and removed the tumor. The final diagnosis was a low-grade astrocytoma.

Despite not even being able to lift a spoon after surgery, Marichu underwent months of physical therapy and rehabilitation, and returned to Mexico able to walk, talk and be independent — just in time for the new year.

Watch: Patient on a mission to help others after spine surgery.

In June 2017, Marichu realized one of her dreams when she joined Dr. Quinones-Hinojosa on a mission trip to the Hospital Civil de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico, through his non profit foundation, Mission: BRAIN.