Marine Corps Liaison Office
National Naval Medical Center – Bethesda
Marine Sgt. Mariama Tarawally and Sgt. Kittrel finish each other’s sentences. Although this is likely the first time they’ve known each other, they share a very deep bond; that of in-theatre combat, life-threatening illness and relentless passion not to leave fellow Marines battling for survival.
Tarawally contracted Malaria in Iraq late last year. Although that was treatable, the disease triggered a very serious and rare kidney disease, focal segmental glomerrulosclerosis, or FSGS. She was an inpatient here for several weeks, then a daily outpatient.
She knows how hard hospital stays are on families, as her husband and children needed to move from North Carolina to Maryland to be with her. She knows the complexities in financial matters and leaving friends at the last school – and just being very uncomfortable.
“It gets better,” she tells patients. She knows, and she knows every little bit of attention helps,” just talk about it.”
“I volunteered to go back. A sailor asked why we want to go back [to combat]. All you got is each other, all weï¿½ve got is each other and you know your unit is still out there, and Iï¿½m going to do it till you tell me I canï¿½t do it anymore,” this warrior said.
Yet she knows some battles are harder won than others. “Sometimes your main focus is to get out of that bed.”