Marisa Rose Tufaro, 13, of Edison, died Monday, January 30, 2017 at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in New York City. A heart transplant, which was supposed to extend her life, tragically cut it short after a postoperative complication developed into a rare form of Stage IV cancer to which she succumbed following a valiant battle. Born with a complex cardiac defect, Marisa survived six open-heart surgeries prior to transplant to live a vibrant life that inspired many.
Born in Philadelphia, Marisa was a lifelong resident of Edison. She was an honor roll student at James Monroe Elementary School and Herbert Hoover Middle School. She served as student council vice president at James Monroe, where Marisa also participated in annual spring musicals, wrote for the school newspaper, sang in the school chorus, played percussion in the school orchestra and was a member of various clubs. Marisa served on the Youth Advisory Council at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, took classes at European School of Dance in Fords, attended summer camps at Middlesex County College in Edison, received vocal lessons at School of Rock in East Brunswick, developed a love for horses at Special Strides Therapeutic Riding Center in Monroe and performed in musicals at the Forum Theatre in Metuchen. An exceptional artist who excelled at drawing, Marisa took summer classes at Rutgers University's Zimmerli Art Museum, where her work was once showcased in a gallery. Marisa's ambition was to attend an arts college. Marisa's hobbies included crafting.
Marisa loved Broadway shows, going to the boardwalk, spending time at the arcade, playing video games, going to the movies, listening to music, collecting stuffed animals, trips to the zoo, dining out, watching cartoons, birds, taking vacations, and most of all, being with family.
Marisa is survived by her parents, Greg and Cyndi Tufaro of Edison; paternal grandmother Marie Tufaro of Princeton; maternal grandmother Loretta Jean Seago of Edison; aunts and uncles, Joseph Tufaro and Lorraine Ryan of Philadelphia, Peter Gomez and Kathy Seago of Madrid, Spain, and Sue Seago of Edison. Marisa is also survived by her cousins Katie, Tim, Becky, Patricia, Melissa and Jennifer. Marisa was predeceased by her paternal grandfather, Joseph Tufaro of Jackson, and maternal grandfather, Harold Seago of Edison.
Relatives and friends may call from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, February 3, 2017 at the Costello-Runyon Funeral Home, 568 Middlesex Avenue (Route 27), Metuchen. Funeral services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, February 4, 2017 at the funeral home, followed by a 10:15 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral, Metuchen. Interment will follow at Hillside Cemetery, 52 Lincoln Avenue, Metuchen.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a foundation that is being established in Marisa's name. All donations to the foundation will be used exclusively to help children in need throughout the greater Middlesex County area. Checks must be made payable to James Monroe Elementary School and mailed to the school at 7 Sharp Road, Edison, NJ, 08837. The words "for Marisa" must be contained in the memo portion of the check.
PLEASE SEE LINK BELOW IN THE 'VIDEOS' SECTION TO READ MORE ABOUT MARISA.