Three years ago, Gianna Masciantonio was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor as a year old infant. Today, she lives a normal life after making a miraculous recovery – her parents say in part thanks to a kiss on her heard from Pope Francis.
Four weeks after she was born, doctors told the parents of Gianna Masciantonio to start making funeral preparations and to place her in hospice care. She was born with an extremely rare blood disease called Systemic Juvenile Xanthrogranuloma that caused a tumor in her brain.
Her parents Kristen and Joey began chemotherapy, but treatment made little difference. The devoutly Catholic couple found solace in prayer, beginning weekly phone calls with family members to say the Rosary. When Pope Francis made his visit to Philadelphia, they hoped to receive the Holy Father’s blessing for their daughter.
As the procession made its way past them, Pope Francis motioned to hold the baby, his security guards retrieving a Gianna held high in the air. He kissed her head, unbeknownst to him on the exact location of her tumor. When Gianna had her next MRI two months later, doctors discovered it had miraculously shrunk.
“Gianna’s life is a miracle. She’s doing great. Pope Francis kissing her is God’s way of showing he has been with us through this journey and is listening to our prayers.”
Today, her tumor has completely disappeared and she is preparing to attend preschool.
“Seeing your kid run around and seeing her doing the things she’s doing with what they told us from the beginning is amazing. I think all this is from God, the pope is a messenger from God.”