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Pope Kisses Baby Girl With Brain Tumor, Changing Her Life

CBS Philly

No parent should have to learn that their child has an incurable condition.

When my cousin was born with hydrocephalus, a condition that occurs when fluid builds in the skull, causing the brain to swell, my whole family was devastated.

Doctors were able to remove the fluid, but it changed the way his brain developed, essentially changing the rest of his life.

Times like this, what these innocent little ones and their worried parents need is a miracle.

The Masciantonio family from Philadelphia were looking for just that when their one-year-old daughter, Gianna, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

The little girl had undergone eight surgeries and several chemotherapy treatments, spending most of her life confined to an infant hospital bed.

Gianna also suffers from juvenile xanthogranuloma, an extremely rare blood disorder.

Doctors told the family their little girl would not survive, until one Saturday changed their lives.

The devout Catholic family were spending their Saturday morning at home when they got a call from their friend.

Donny Asper, an FBI agent, told the family to rush downtown because Pope Francis had come to visit their city.

Asper was one of many in charge of guarding the pope's route, so he had special privileges.

He helped the Masciantonio family to get passes to see the leader of the Catholic Church.

At some point of the papal parade, Gianna's father held her out as high as he could to get the attention of the FBI and the Philadelphia police.

The baby caught the eye of the Pope. That's when his security head grabbed her, allowing the Pope to lay a kiss on top of Gianna's head.

"It was the luck of the draw," Joey Masciantonio told NBC News. "We believe it was definitely a divine moment."

Why was this a miracle? Because a year later the family learned that Gianna's tumor had shrunk!

"Last year was about living in honor of her. Now we are going to get to live with her," Masciantonio said.

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

Do you believe in miracles?

For more stories like this, check out these articles below:

1. "Medical Miracle" gives childless family two sets of triplets.

2. Miracle from sky brings hope to people after devastating loss.

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.