ROME, September 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — When a 26-year-old bride was told during the first trimester of her pregnancy that doctors had revealed a malignant tumor in her brain, she refused to endanger her baby with the prescribed cancer treatment or an abortion.
Angela Bianco and her husband sought solutions other than the prescribed chemotherapy. Through prayer and help from friends, they were able to obtain treatment outside Italy that has yet to be authorized in their home country.
Nearly five years later, Angela and her little girl are well.
“I didn’t want to abort and think about saving myself,” Angela said. “My duty was to give birth.” She affirmed in an interview with Famiglia Cristiana that she and her husband and daughter experienced a miracle that is “part science, the work of God, and Padre Pio.” Padre Pio, or St. Pio di Pietrelcina, was an Italian friar, stigmatist, and mystic who has become one of the most popular saints of the Church.
In gratitude, Angela’s daughter was baptized with the name Francesca Pia, partly in honor of the revered Franciscan friar.
Angela recalled in the interview that the choice she made was difficult, but she did not want to put at risk the life growing within her. She recalled, “We were eating dinner at the 82nd birthday celebration for my grandfather when I suddenly had a tremendous pain in my head. It was unbearable, and I fainted. They took me immediately to the Vallo della Lucania hospital. I was in a coma, but after a few days I awakened and was taken to Umberto I Hospital in Rome for an emergency biopsy. The verdict was immediate: a malignant brain tumor. I told myself, this is the end for me and my baby.”
She added, “I wanted her birth at whatever the cost.” When abortion was offered as an option, Angela recalled, “I thought about my life, but also about the baby that was inside me. I told the doctors I did not want to abort, that I wanted my daughter to be born and that she was a great gift, at whatever the price.”
Word about Angela’s plight circulated around the world, and prayers began to go up. For example, Italians on pilgrimage to Lourdes called on the Blessed Virgin to intercede for the mother and child. Among the pilgrims was one of Angela’s neighbors, who was also a colleague of the renowned Dr. Pantaleo Romanelli, who practices in the United States. Through Romanelli, a neurosurgeon, it was determined that she was a candidate for treatment with Cyberknife — a robotic radiation treatment that requires no incisions, allowing for quicker healing. Having concluded that the technology was a possible solution, Angela found that bureaucratic delays in Italy prevented her from obtaining the needed treatment.
As the cancer advanced and bureaucrats fumbled, Angela’s faith was tried. However, the prayer chain that began at Lourdes began to extend to France, to Angela’s native Italy, and to other countries. In the fifth month of her pregnancy, Angela finally received the life-saving treatment.
“Prayer helped me in moments of fear. Thanks to faith, I was saved,” Angela said. She credited the Virgin Mary for interceding on her behalf: “The parish priest gave my wedding veil to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, putting it on her head on the day of my last chemotherapy.”
Francesca Pia is now an active girl, who plays at home. Angela explained why she bears the saint’s name, saying, “One night when I was sick, I found an icon of Padre Pio, and I promised to give his name to the baby.”
She has yet another wish: she said she wants to tell the story to Pope Francis, because her daughter also bears his name.