Baby Girl with Brain Tumor Makes Miraculous Recovery After Kiss from Pope Francis


The family of young Gianna Masciantonio credits their daughter’s miraculous recovery from a brain tumor to a combination of faith and expert medical treatment.

When baby Gianna was just one month old, she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Her prognosis was grim — doctors predicted the baby wouldn’t live to her first birthday.

But Gianna’s family believes God had other plans for their daughter, orchestrating her recovery by placing the right people in their child’s life at the right time.

Gianna’s parents, Joey and Kristen Masciantonio, credit doctors from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for saving their daughter’s life.

They have also leaned on their faith throughout Gianna’s ordeal, a faith that made headlines in 2015 when Pope Francis planted a kiss on top of Gianna’s little head and her brain tumor began to rapidly shrink shortly afterwards.

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“We feel blessed for her incredible medical care and for God’s grace. So, Gianna had her first scan since her kiss from Pope Francis. We are ecstatic to announce that her tumor is almost undetectable in a lot of the MRI cuts,” Kristen said in 2015.

Gianna has made remarkable improvements in the three years since her chemotherapy treatments began. Her brain tumor is now gone, and a life marked by doctor appointments and hospital visits is being replaced with days of a carefree childhood.

“She’s doing great,” Kristen Masciantonio told CBS Philadelphia. “She’s going to attend preschool this fall. She’s so excited.”

Dr. Phillip Storm, a pediatric neurosurgeon at CHOP, is thrilled with Gianna’s remarkable recovery.

“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,” Storm told CBS. “It just wouldn’t happen.”

Now that Gianna is doing so well, her parents are delighted to give back to the hospital and staff that has been by their daughter’s side through it all. They started a foundation, For the Love of Grace, dedicated to helping children with brain tumors and histiocytosis.

On Aug. 18, Gianna and her family were able to return to CHOP under some very different circumstances. They delivered a $50,000 check to the hospital, money they hope will help cure other children living with brain tumors.

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“This place is so special to us in our heart,” said Joey Masciantonio. “What they did for Gianna is something for us that no amount of money could ever repay, but we just want to help the kids.”

Those who have been following Gianna’s story since 2015 are thrilled with her outcome, and look forward to what’s in store for this family who continually put their faith ahead of fear.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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