Surprise homecoming for 2-year-old New Jersey girl battling cancer

MARLTON, New Jersey -- It was a very special day Wednesday in Marlton, New Jersey.

Two-year-old Arianna spent more than the last year at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia battling a rare form of leukemia.

Today she's well enough to come home, and her aunt, Sandi DiMarco, planned quite the surprise for the little girl and her parents.

There was a lot of excitement before their arrival on Boswell Road. Decorations went up, a church group arrived dressed up as costumed characters, and a fire truck rolled into place.

"Her parents don't know. And it's going to be great," said DiMarco.

Little Arianna was admitted to Children's Hospital in February of last year to receive treatment for a rare form of leukemia. There have been many setbacks.

"She's had pneumonia twice, and those two times we were told to prepare for the worst," said DiMarco.
But now she's well enough to spend some time at home.

Aunt Sandi, who recently shaved her head to raise money for cancer research, decorated the home Arianna shares with her mother and grandparents in orange for leukemia, and gold for childhood cancer.

Late Wednesday afternoon, police and the Warrior Watch Riders escorted Arianna down the street - she was finally home.

"This is ridiculous. I have no words, I'm sorry," said Arianna's mother, Katrina Knott, who was overcome with emotion by the surprise. "We didn't know any of this was happening. You guys are amazing. Thank you."

She can spend some time with her cousins and her family, but she does still have a long road ahead of her.
Arianna does need more medical care, but she is home now. It's been a long time coming, and boy did this little girl get a happy welcome.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.