How Pope Francis helped a young girl from Brooklyn battling Lyme Disease

Jim Dolan Image
Monday, March 28, 2016
How Pope Francis helped a young girl in Brooklyn
Jim Dolan has the story from Bath Beach.

BATH BEACH, Brooklyn (WABC) -- For Julia Bruzzese, every day is a gift that she and her parents think is delivered by Pope Francis.

Julia was blessed by the pope during the darkest days of her illness. Just 12 years old, she would lie in bed, and wonder if she would live through her years. She was just a normal, preteen girl from Bath Beach - a dancer, before she started getting sick with Lyme Disease.

"I was scared for my life, didn't know what to do," says Julia.

Soon, she couldn't walk, and no one could figure out what was wrong.

"It was scary, is this going to be the rest of my life?" Julia thought.

During Pope Francis' visit to New York in September, he picked her out of a crowd at JFK Airport, and blessed her. Her story got nationwide attention, and soon, amazing things started to happen.

"There was just a tremendous outpouring of love from the community," said Julia's father, Enrico, "Her best friend's mom started a GoFundMe page, we had a doctor reach out to us and offer us treatment."

Julia started getting the medical attention and medicine she needed. Now?

"A couple months ago, during December, I got some feeling on the bottom of my feet and the sides of my feet, and now I can feel it almost fully. The night before my Dad's birthday, this past Wednesday, the top of my feet and my ankle started buzzing, so that means it's coming back," she says.

Julia is determined she will walk again, and her parents are optimistic as well. While Pope Francis did not cure her, and there was no miracle on the tarmac at Kennedy Airport, the attention the blessing got steered the people who could help towards Julia, and now she has one thing that she hasn't had in a long time - hope.