TAMPA (FOX 13) - If you need a lesson in true grit, no one has more than Marina Marasco. She had a rough entry into the world but is defying the odds just by living life.
Marina was born with a defect called giant omphalocele.
"Almost all of her abdominal organs were all outside her body when she was born," said Dr. Michael Gallant From Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.
Only a thin membrane held her organs together.
"She wasn't breathing when she was delivered," said her mom, Nikki Marasco. "She spent 10 months in the NICU at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital and came home on full life support."
That was then, but now Marina is looking to the future.
"I'm happy to be here today," the 10-year-old said.
She underwent 21 surgeries by the time she was six. She's had one already this year.
"Physically, I feel great and recovering well from my 23rd surgery," Marina said.
She and her family credit the doctors, nurses, and their support team for a successful recovery.
"I always know that I am in great hands and I know just to stay positive and everything is going to be okay," Marina said.
Her positive attitude bodes well for her future.
"It's been a long, tough journey but I made it through, nice and strong," Marina explained.
"She's pretty special and we think she is perfect," her mom added. "She's uniquely, unique."
Marina is now cheerleading and hoping to play other sports as she gets older.