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Baby's Tumor Shrinks, Prognosis Improves After Pope's Kiss

Baby's Tumor Shrinks, Prognosis Improves After Pope's Kiss
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By    |   Thursday, 26 November 2015 12:23 PM

Just a few months ago, the parents a gravely ill Philadelphia child were being told to enjoy the final few months of their infant girl's life, but after Pope Francis kissed and blessed her, her brain tumor has shrunk and she's expected to live.

And while many are hailing the pope's kiss as the miracle that saved baby Gianna's life, her father, Joey Masciantonio, told NBC News there is more to it.

"The kiss was God's work, that's for sure," said Masciantonio. "But, the miracle was Him giving us the platform to reach those doctors who, ultimately, played a major role in saving Gianna's life."

But either way, the blessing almost didn't happen. Gianna suffers from juvenile xanthogranuloma, a rare blood disorder that affects fewer than five children in the United States yearly, and her parents, Joe and wife Kristen worried that taking her in the crowds surrounding the pope's appearance would be dangerous.

A friend, FBI agent Donny Asper, called to get them downtown to see the pontiff, as he'd gotten them passes.

The couple are devout Catholics, and had long dreamed of seeing the pope, and had wanted their daughter to be blessed by him. At that point, the baby girl had a brain tumor and had undergone eight surgeries and several rounds of chemotherapy.

Masciantonio told NBC that after the family got to a location near the historic James S. Byrne Courthouse and the pope was passing, he held his child as high as he could, and Asper had tipped off other FBI agents to wave the Pope's motorcade closer. The pope's security head, Domenico Gianni saw the baby and brought her to the pope, as he did many other babies during the visit.

"We believe it was definitely a divine moment," said Masciantonio.

But Gianni still had more chemotherapy and an MRI to go through-26 pope, and last week the MRI results came back and showed her tumor had shrunk to being "virtually invisible" on the screen.

Doctors say the tumor is not completely gone, but Gianna will likely survive, and family and friends are calling it "the Miracle on Market Street," to mark the location where the pope kissed her.

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Just a few months ago, the parents a gravely ill Philadelphia child were being told to enjoy the final few months of their infant girl's life, but after Pope Francis kissed and blessed her, her brain tumor has shrunk and she's expected to live.
Pope Francis, baby
365
2015-23-26
Thursday, 26 November 2015 12:23 PM
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