A Twin Cities mother says it's a miracle her daughter is alive after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. ‘Never Give Up’: Orono Teen Marit Francis Credits St. Jude Hospital For Brain Cancer Victory – WCCO | CBS Minnesota


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities mother says it’s a miracle her daughter is alive after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.

She credits God, a Twin Cities surgeon and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for saving her daughter.

The hallways bustle at Orono High School. Marit Francis blends right in. But the life experience of this 17 year old in unlike that of any average kid. The problems began in kindergarten.

“I was so sick and I was getting sick every day at school, and they were just like it’s probably just like anxiety,” Marit said.

It was far from anxiety. After seven long months, there was a devastating diagnosis.

“They stopped the MRI and pulled us into a separate room and said, ‘There’s no easy way to say it, your child has a brain tumor,’ and it was, you know, the size of a tennis ball and had spread extensively into the crevices of her brain and all peppered down her spine,” said Marit’s mom, Berit Francis.

Marit Francis (credit: CBS)

Doctors removed the brain tumor, and then the Francis family turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis to save her life with intensive chemotherapy and other treatments.

The Francis’s moved the entire family there to be by Marit’s side. While St. Jude is known for cutting-edge treatment and medical research, Berit says there’s another element to it.

“The institution provides care and love and kindness and compassion to the entire family, which I think completely adds in healing and nurturing the patients through this extremely brutal kind of treatment,” Berit said.

Marit is now 10-years cancer free. Feeling strong and healthy sitting in English class, imagine the paper should could write if the assignment was, “tell us something interesting about your life.”

“Never give up, no matter like how hard it is, because if I gave up it may not have worked,” Marit said.

Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment. St. Jude also shares its research with other hospitals.

Frank Vascellaro will emcee the St. Jude Red Carpet for Hope on Friday, April 12 at The Armory in downtown Minneapolis.

Frank Vascellaro

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