The touching moment Pope Francis kissed 'terminally' ill Gianna has been branded the Miracle on Market Street
A baby girl kissed on the head by Pope Francis has made a miraculous recovery from an inoperable brain tumour after doctors gave her only months to live.
Gianna Masciantonio was just a year old and fighting for her life when the pontiff leaned out of his Popemobile and blessed her during a landmark visit to the US.
The 81-year-old head of the Catholic Church had no idea the tot was suffering the condition when she was hoisted above a crowd of thousands on Market Street in Philadelphia in 2015.
The procession stopped and Gianna was brought over to his car. Pope Francis then gently kissed her forehead before blessing her with the sign of the cross.
Now aged three, Gianna has made an astonishing recovery
Months before the touching moment, doctors discovered a massive tumour growing on Gianna's brain stem and told her parents to start planning her funeral.
But now, three years later, the youngster's family revealed that against the odds her tumour has completely disappeared.
Four weeks after she was born, Gianna was diagnosed with Histiocystosis, a blood disorder that occurs when there is an over-production of white blood cells called histiocytes.
The condition formed the life-threatening tumour in her head.
The tot (pictured with one of her doctors) underwent months of intense chemotherapy, which shrunk her tumour until it disappeared completely
She underwent surgery when she was just four months old, but doctors predicted she would not survive to her first birthday.
Mum and dad Kristen and Joey Masciantonio didn't give up hope and sought out second opinions.
Then on Christmas Eve, two months after the Pope's kiss, they received a call from cancer specialist Ira Dunkel.
Baffled by the cysts forming around Gianna's tumour, he ordered a biopsy which revealed the cancer wasn't malignant after all.
Gianna's family donated $50,000 to the children's hospital where she was treated
The tot then underwent 15 months of intense chemotherapy and the tumour began to shrink.
Soon she was astounding doctors as she started crawling, feeding herself and even talking.
Gianna's relieved mum Kristen said: “She’s doing great. She’s going to attend preschool this fall. She’s so excited."
Her dad added: “Seeing your kid run around and seeing her doing the things she’s doing, with what they told us from the beginning, is amazing."
Her parents were initially told to start planning her funeral but now she continues to defy the odds and is heading to preschool in autumn
Images of the touching moment were featured in newspapers around the world earned Gianna the nickname the "Miracle on Market Street".
Her parents credit her incredible recovery to their Christian faith and medics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Source: The Sun UK