Miracle woman Gianna is three and chemo-free


Shortly after Kristen Masciantonio’s daughter, Gianna Grace, was born on Sept. 17, 2014, she failed a listening to take a look at. “Her ears were working fine,” Masciantonio stated, “The doctors didn’t understand why she couldn’t hear.”

When Gianna was a month outdated and may very well be sedated safely, she was given an MRI at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Afterward, a staff of medical doctors informed Masciantonio and her husband Joe that Gianna had a large, inoperable tumor on her mind stem.

“I remember falling to the floor,” Masciantonio stated. “Because of the size of the tumor, they thought it was malignant. You don’t survive brain stem tumors. I asked a doctor if she’s ever seen miracles happen, and she said yes, she has, but not in this case. She said Gianna would not live to see her first birthday.”

Gianna, who not too long ago celebrated her third birthday and her first full yr with out chemotherapy remedies, seemed to be probably the most hugged and kissed little woman in Bucks County on Sunday throughout her dad and mom’ For the Love of Grace Foundation fund-raiser for pediatric mind tumor badysis on the St. Cyril of Jerusalem Church social corridor in Jamison.

Camera icon MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer

Kristen Masciantonio (proper) whose daughter Gianna, three, has miraculously survived a life-threatening blood dysfunction since start, will get a hug from one of many 300 ladies at Sunday’s For the Love of Grace Foundation fund-raiser at St. Cyril of Jerusalem Church in Jamison, Bucks County, for pediatric mind tumor badysis.

The Masciantonios hosted 300 feminine mates, group supporters, and households of kids preventing life-threatening diseases for a day of designer-purse bingo, a raffle of 86 present luggage full of every thing from cosmetics and connoisseur meals to mbadages and karate clbades, and a silent public sale of a Philadelphia Eagles jersey autographed by quarterback Carson Wentz, an Eagles helmet signed by defensive finish Brandon Graham, and a bat signed by Phillies outfielder Nick Williams.

Dozens of the ladies wore ‘Gianna Grace: Faith Over Fear’ T-shirts. Alexis DeLuca, who owns The Novel Baker in Ivyland and who, just like the Masciantonio household, is a member of St. Cyril, stated, “I’ve been praying for Gianna since she was born.”

Masciantonio spent the 4 hours on the run, shuttling between the present baskets within the rear of the crowded corridor and the stage up entrance the place her husband referred to as the numbers. She offered bingo tickets from desk to desk alongside the best way and delivered prizes to the winners.

While the fund-raiser, which raised $30,000, was occurring, her mother-in-law, Andrea Masciantonio, stored tabs on the very lively Gianna and marveled at her granddaughter’s resilience.

“Gianna fights so hard,” she stated. “She never gives up. She’s just amazing.”

Gianna spent the primary eight months of her life on palliative care with two hospice nurses within the household’s Warrington, Bucks County house. “She was terminally ill,” Masciantonio stated. “We made funeral plans.”

She was sending Gianna’s mind scans to each youngsters’s hospital she might, however wasn’t listening to any phrases of hope.

And then, the primary of two miracles occurred. When Pope Francis was using in a parade on Market Street on Sept. 26, 2015, a member of his Swiss Guard picked child Gianna out of the cheering crowd and carried her to the Pope, who kissed her on the top.

“At that time, there was no hope for us at all,” Mascantonio stated. “We were praying for a miracle because that’s the only hope we had. The miracle was the Pope’s kiss. God showed us that he’s been with us.”

The second miracle was medical. Two months after the Pope’s kiss, on Christmas Eve, whereas the Masciantonios had been getting Gianna able to painting the Baby Jesus at church whereas her brother Dominic, three on the time, portrayed a shepherd, the household obtained a name from Ira J. Dunkel, an oncologist who makes a speciality of pediatric mind tumors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who requested a biopsy.

It revealed that Gianna’s mind stem tumor wasn’t malignant. “It ended up being a very rare form of histiocytosis, a blood disease where Gianna’s blood cells were attacking her most vital organ, her brain stem,” Masciantonio stated.

She stated Kenneth McClain, director of the histiocytosis program at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, referred to as and informed her, “I think your daughter’s going to be OK.” It was arduous to consider on the time, she stated, as a result of Gianna was so sick.

Advised by McClain, Philip B. Storm, chief of neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and his staff carried out a number of surgical procedures on Gianna.

Two years later, after chemotherapy remedies that continued into 2016, the mbad on Gianna’s mind stem has shrunk to the purpose the place she’s been chemo-free for a yr.

Debbie Saffren, who has been Gianna’s occupational therapist since August, works along with her thrice per week to strengthen her left arm, hand, and leg, that are weaker than her proper aspect, and to strengthen her coordination.

“She’s incredibly smart,” Saffren stated. “She faces everything head on and puts her whole heart into all of it. She’s like a child unicorn. I get teary talking about her. When I wear my ‘Team Gianna Grace: Faith Over Fear’ T-shirt, I feel I have magical powers.”


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