Surrounded by her favorite things, 2-year-old Giana Plumeri dances and twirls in a colorful tutu. Her big brown eyes sparkle and shine as the intro to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse radiates from the glow of a TV inside a small hospital room. Despite being a patient at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, “Gia” as her family and friends affectionately call her, is full of joy.
“We are amazed at how happy and joyful Gia has remained through everything,” Gia’s father Dominic Plumeri said. “Often we keep waiting on it to get worse under the circumstances, but it just hasn’t been like that at all. She just remains happy.”
Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in August 2018, Gia spent over seven months at Norton’s Children’s Hospital. She achieved remission in April 2019. When Gia’s health took a setback in June within a short few months, her family found themselves in a familiar situation facing similar circumstances. Her cancer had returned.
“Gia is special. She is unbelievably strong,” Gia’s mother Larissa Sampson said. “She has her own sweet spirit about her.”
Battling an aggressive type of leukemia, which is rare in adolescents, Gia faces adversity with her own unique blend of “sass,” Sampson said.
“The joy she brings to others despite all this is just amazing,” Sampson said. “She is so animated and sassy. Her attitude has impacted complete strangers who have followed her story across the globe.”
Gia’s story has captivated thousands of followers via social media through her Facebook page “Gia’s got Cureage.” Encouraging messages and well wishes have flooded the page since it was created. Drones of cards and gifts have made their way to her hospital room from strangers and friends alike, who have grown to love Gia by monitoring her journey via the page.
“A young man named Isaac took the time to write Gia a letter,” Sampson said. “A fellow cancer patient, you could tell he really poured his heart into it. The detail and thought he put into it touched our hearts. It is definitely something we’ll always remember.”
Gia’s parents credit the overwhelming love and support from their hometown of Owensboro as the greatest blessing of all in the midst of difficult times.
“The willingness of so many from our hometown to help, to jump in and serve has been incredible,” Sampson said. “We’re just so grateful.”
True to her own personality Gia remains charismatic, enchanting everyone she comes into contact with.
“She’s beautiful,” Plumeri said. “If I had to describe Giana in one word, it would be beautiful. She is strong beyond her comprehension, and beautiful beyond words. She has people praying for her all over the country, the world even. It’s a thing of beauty to witness.”
Gia is currently in the pediatric intensive care unit of Cincinnati’s Children’s Medical Center where she is being treated for a developing heart condition.
To follow Gia’s story look for her page “Gia’s got Cureage” on Facebook.