As he traveled down Market Street 5 years ago during his visit to Philadelphia, Pope Francis k1ssed 1-year-old Gianna Masciantonio on the head. The Holy Father didn’t realize she had a debilitating brain tumor.
Just hours before the pope’s motorcade passed along Market Street to hundreds of thousands in downtown Philadelphia, Masciantonio was with his wife Kristen and their two children taking in a Saturday morning at their suburban home.
For Masciantonio and his wife Kristen, both devout Catholics, the opportunity to see the leader of their church was more than just a dream. They had long wanted their daughter Gianna to see the pope
Gianna had a brain tumor and had undergone eight surgeries and numerous chemotherapy treatments at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital in her 15 months of life.
Doctors had told the family that she would likely not survive and advised her parents to enjoy the final months they had with their baby daughter.
Two months later, the family received a life-changing call from Ira Dunkel, a specialist from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who had discovered cysts forming around Gianna’s brain tumour.
A biopsy revealed that the tumour was not cancer but Juvenile Xanthogranuloma, a rare blood disorder that affects one in 10 million children.
At age of three, her family said the tumour has disappeared and the baby was miraculous saved.
To commemorate Gianna’s recovery, her parents, Joey and Kristen Masciantonio, donated $50,000 to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where Gianna was treated.
They made the donation in the name of the foundation they started, For the Love of Grace . Grace is Gianna’s middle name, and the foundation is dedicated to helping children with brain tumors and histiocytosis.
Miracles can happen in life you have faith.