Since she’s been most cancers free, 15-year-old Giovanna Picciolini, of Homer Glen, has centered on serving to youngsters with most cancers, together with fundraising for a boy in Mexico and donating toys to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Youngsters’s Hospital of Chicago.
When she was 11, Giovanna, now a sophomore at Windfall Catholic Excessive College, was recognized with medulloblastoma, a sort of pediatric mind most cancers usually recognized in youngsters at that age, she stated.
Giovanna stated she was recognized in April 2018 when her mom took her to the emergency room after she had a horrible headache and was throwing up.
“It got here as a whole shock as a result of she was a wonderfully wholesome little 11-year-old woman that simply at some point had a headache,” stated Gino Picciolini, Giovanna’s father, stated.
Gino stated he’ll at all times be grateful Giovanna’s pediatrician ordered a mind scan as an alternative of simply sending her residence with drugs for a headache.
Edna Picciolini, Giovanna’s mom, stated the day they went to the hospital was a whirlwind. One minute, Giovanna had a headache and in seemingly the subsequent she was recognized with mind most cancers and docs started recommending surgical procedure.
“Primarily, your life modifications in actually a second,” Edna stated.
After surgical procedure, radiation and chemotherapy, Giovanna has been most cancers free since July 2019. Giovanna stated she now offers again to make sure analysis and therapy for pediatric most cancers continues to advance.
For her first fundraiser final summer season, Giovanna offered bracelets to lift cash for the Pediatric Mind Tumor Basis and raised $1,000, she stated.
Giovanna stated she has additionally donated stress-relief toys and slime to Lurie Youngsters’s Hospital, the place she acquired therapy. Whereas she was in therapy, Giovanna stated she preferred to play with the slime.
“I understand how arduous it’s and I simply need to allow them to have the identical probability I received,” Giovanna stated.
Over a yr in the past, Giovanna and her household began a good larger fundraising effort, beginning a GoFundMe web page for Erick Daniel Rivera, a 15-year-old boy in Mexico who has mind most cancers.
“There’s not a whole lot of therapy choices for him the place he lives, so he has to journey to Mexico Metropolis for his therapy,” Giovanna stated. “He doesn’t have the funds for for him to go by airplane, in order that they go by bus and it’s uncomfortable for him.”
Gino met Rivera’s father, a cabdriver in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, throughout a taxi experience from the airport a couple of years in the past. Gino stated he realized Rivera’s son has mind most cancers, like Giovanna did on the time.
When Gino and Edna returned to Mexico final summer season, he stated Rivera’s father picked them up a second time. After they began speaking, Gino stated he rapidly realized this was the identical driver from the earlier journey and the household determined they need to assist.
Erick’s dad informed it was an eight-hour journey from their residence in Zihuatanejo to Mexico Metropolis. He additionally informed them how Erick, 15, who’s in a wheelchair, and his household take the bus for therapy as a result of airplane tickets are costly, he stated.
“We realized that the celebrities simply sort of aligned and that there was the next energy attempting to attach the 2 of us as a result of his son was experiencing on the similar age what Giovanna’s journey had been,” Gino stated.
Since October 2021, Giovanna stated she and her household have raised funds for Erick by the GoFundMe web page and promoting bracelets. The GoFundMe web page has reached $3,700 of its $4,000 aim, in keeping with the web site.
The Picciolini household flew to Mexico for the Christmas vacation and spent a while with Erick and his household. Giovanna stated she met Erick for the primary time final yr.
“It was good seeing him once more. He appeared actually blissful that we had been there,” Giovanna stated. “We had a good time assembly his two youthful brothers and his grandmother.”
Giovanna has at all times been nurturing towards others, Gino stated, recalling how she helped handicapped youngsters on the dance studio the place she took classes when she was 9.
Gino stated they aren’t in any respect stunned she’s taken her expertise and turned it right into a constructive by serving to others, or that her profession ambition is to be a pediatric oncology nurse.
“It’s simply in her inherent nature to simply be that kind of individual,” Gino stated.
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