New Jersey

12-Year-Old NJ Girl Is Free of Cancer 1 Year After Meeting the Pope

A 12-year-old New Jersey girl says she is free of cancer a year after she met Pope Francis at the Vatican. 

Grace West was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma when she was 10 years old. After eight chemotherapy sessions, surgery, radiation treatments and immunotherapy West no longer has cancer. 

"It was a moment of victory, and I beat it. I beat it. It's gone," she said. 

West found out she was cancer-free on Dec. 11, which was about a year after she met Pope Francis in Italy. The seventh-grader says that after seeing the pope she knew she would be alright.

West's mom, 45-year-old Sharon West, says her daughter never lost her spirit or her faith during the two long years she had to undergo treatment.

Despite months of hospital visits, Grace West didn't show signs of improvement much of this year. But on Dec. 11, her mother received a call from the hospital while she was in a 7-Eleven parking lot.

The news was two years in the making.

"I think it's a miracle that involved so many people," said Sharon West. 

Grace West, whose hair is beginning to grow back, said that the pope's blessing and the support of her friends and family helped her defeat the deadly disease.

"You have no choice but to be strong," she said. "You can choose to be happy and positive." 

Some 700 people are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year in the U.S. The cancer affects a body's nerve cells.

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