Gianna Masciantonio who was kissed by the Pope when she was 1-year-old three years ago, has defied all odds to beat a brain tumor which knocked her down. Pope Francis didn’t realize she had a debilitating brain tumor, but the story made headlines and the tumor eventually disappeared.
The little girl was previously diagnosed with Histiocytosis, a blood disorder that eventually formed a brain tumor. It’s now gone and chemotherapy is just a distant memory for Gianna.
“She’s doing great. She’s going to attend preschool this fall. She’s so excited,” said her mother, Kristen Masciantonio.
“Seeing your kid run around and seeing her doing the things she’s doing with what they told us from the beginning is amazing,” said Gianna’s father, Joey Masciantonio.
Gianna’s recovery has been credited to the girl’s faith and the team at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), including Dr. Phillip Storm and Dr. Amish Shah. The The Masciantonio family, turned up to donate $50,000 to CHOP in the name of Gianna’s foundation. The foundation is called “For the Love of Grace.” Grace is Gianna’s middle name. Greeting her at CHOP on Friday were her two heroes, Dr. Shah and Dr. Storm.
“She’s blown our expectations out of the water in terms of how she’s doing. She’s resilient and she’s tough and instead of taking all this as something to be fearful of, she’s really taking this in stride,” said Shah, a pediatric neuro-oncologist at CHOP.
“From what I thought at age 4 months when I operated on her, if you would have told me she’d be running around getting ready to start preschool, I would have told you you’d be crazy. It just wouldn’t happen,” said Storm, the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at CHOP.
Storm is glad he was wrong and now Gianna’s future looks bright. Her parents say the doctors at CHOP, with a touch of faith from Pope Francis three years ago, saved Gianna’s life.