[The following article is by Jakob Marshner. I picked it up from www.kath.net but the story of the subject boy, Joshua de Nicolo appears on many websites and he has made a number of television appearances. Obviously translated into English, it has been only slighted edited by me]:
For eight months, two-year-old Joshua battled a last stage cancer with a transplantation, 80 chemotherapy and 17 radiotherapy sessions. When nothing worked, his parents took him to Medjugorje.
Back home, tests showed 19 tumours and all bone metastases to be gone as the beginning of Joshua’s complete recovery.
Before he turned three, Joshua had experienced more hardships, drama and obvious grace than many people do in a lifetime.
The boy from Putignano in southern Italy was born with an undiscovered neuroblastoma, the most common form of infancy cancer, in February 2007. It took 22 months of his true condition to be found, in January 2009 when the illness had progress to its last stage, 4D, where long-term survival rates are poor, despite aggressive multimodal therapy.
Doctors gave Joshua only days or weeks to live when his parents took him to Medjugorje in June 2009. Just before departure, the boy’s white blood cell numbers dramatically improved and he immediately felt well in Medjugorje, his parents testify. Joshua felt even better after Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo’s apparition on 02 July 2009 when he was placed beside the visionary. After that, he seemed relieved from pain.
Upon the family’s return to Italy, clinical tests showed that Joshua’s bone metastases as well as 19 tumours spread throughout the body had disappeared. The only remaining tumour had been reduced in size from 7.5 to 3 centimetres, enabling doctors to remove it altogether. Since this operation took place, in November 2009, Joshua has been completely healed.
Joshua’s parents, Elizabeth and Manuel de Nicolo, have witnessed their son’s illness and healing.
Early symptoms were misdiagnosed
Joshua was born with one eye half closed, and his head tilting to the left. Several doctors told the couple it was nothing serious, Elizabeth attested in an article carried by the Italian blog Quotidinamente. Likewise, the boy was initially misdiagnosed when a ball no bigger than a kernel appeared on his left temple where doctors saw it and judged it non-malignant.
It was not, and it was far from it, as shown when Elizabeth and Manuel took their son for more thorough tests at the hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo by the shrine of Saint Padre Pio.
“After the CT scan,” Elizabeth tells, “the primary oncologist Dr Xavier Ladogana told us that Joshua was suffering from mediastinal neuroblastoma in the fourth stage, D, and that the tumour was attached to the pelvic bone, the bone marrow, the bones of the skull, the back of the left eye and the lymph nodes of the neck, penetrating the left side of the brain and that this, unfortunately, explained Joshua’s head tilt since birth.”
A total of 22 tumours were found, according to her husband’s testimony.
“We immediately started a medical treatment attack, a veritable bombardment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and a transplantation,” Elizabeth tells, her husband counting 80 chemotherapy and 17 radiotherapy sessions.
“Nonetheless, the doctors gave our son little hope of survival” Manuel remembers. ‘It seemed to be a matter of weeks or maybe days.”
Cultural Christians in search of a hope
While neither of the parents were practising Christians, it was in this direction they looked when little hope was left in June 2009. The couple say they felt directed all the way to Medjugorje and beyond. On their way, they experienced several signs.
“In the blackest desperation,” Manuel tells, “we thought of bringing Joshua to Lourdes. It was the only Marian shrine I knew. But one day while we were in San Giovanni Rotondo, in a moment of desperation, I went into the crypt of Padre Pio and asked him straight to his face: Why my child? Give me a sign to restore my hope.
“Then I went back to the hospital and as I walked down the corridor of the ward, I suddenly saw an open computer with the Madonna’s face as background image. It was like a flash that deeply troubled me. When I entered the room, I found Elizabeth who told me that Joshua had not wanted to sleep but had found serenity and calm with some Marian songs and had fallen asleep.”
“They were songs dedicated to Our Lady of Medjugorje.”
Journey into unknown land
Prior to June, 2009, Elizabeth and Manuel had never heard about the Virgin Mary’s apparitions in Medjugorje.
“We did not even know of the existence of a village called Medjugorje,” Joshua’s father testifies, “but Our Lady called us there and we immediately received another sign. Among the magazines scattered in hospital waiting rooms, there was a special edition of the magazine Oggi about the Virgin appearing to six local people since 1981 and miracles of healing. After reading this article, we decided to leave immediately.”
But Joshua was weak and obstacle seemed to come on top of obstacle.
“The doctors advised us against this trip because Joshua had very low white blood cell numbers, about 5,000 but we were very determined,” Manuel says. “And on the day we left, our son’s blood cell number went up to 160,000.”
“Already in this, I saw the first miracle. The child could not face the journey in these conditions. But the rise of his white blood cell numbers in a very short time was a first sign,” Elizabeth said live on major Italian TV channel RaiUno on February 28th 2010.
In front of the Madonna
From early on, Joshua felt well in Medjugorje. His parents noted a difference almost from the moment he first set foot in the village:
“Once in Medjugorje,” Manuel testifies, “we only just got off the bus when Joshua seemed to be mysteriously but strongly attracted to this holy place. As a result of the tumours the child could hardly walk anymore. But he seemed to get better.”
Meeting the converted Italian journalist and TV personality Paolo Brosio paved the way for Joshua to be placed next to the visionary, right in front of the Virgin Mary during Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo’s apparition on July 2nd.
“After the apparition,” his father tells, “to our surprise, Joshua began to feel even better and he did not seem to experience pain anymore.”
“But we had the biggest surprise when we came home.”
Doctor: Joshua’s healing is miraculous
Elizabeth Manuel returned to the hospital at San Giovanni Rotondo finding doctors who could not explain what they saw:
“The clinical tests underlined the fact that 19 tumours spread throughout the body had disappeared, and the bone metastases were completely healed,” Manuel tells. “Only behind the lung, a neuroblastoma had remained but the size of the tumour had been reduced from 7.5 to 3 centimetres.”
“The doctor told us that Joshua was miraculously healed.” And Dr Xavier Ladogana, the director of the oncological department went further: What happened to your child is scientifically inexplicable. With the resources and knowledge we have at our disposal, we cannot give an accurate and incontestable medical explanation. We can only say that the child no longer has the same disease he had before the pilgrimage.
Joshua has more mystical experiences
The decrease in size of Joshua’s last remaining tumour allowed doctors to operate. This took place on 17 November 2009.
“The surgery was fully successful,” Manual says, “and the doctors even said that this was, in a sense, itself a miracle because it was so inexplicable. The operation lasted less tan one hour and was expected to last four to six hours.”
“After the surgery the child had to spend several days in intensive care, and actually spent less than half an hour because he woke up immediately and began to breathe without problems, far beyond the most optimistic forecasts. For us, this intervention was a second miracle.”
“Upon awakening from the operation,” Elizabeth testifies, “he told me that he had been in Heaven with Jesus and that he had received a big, great gift, the gift of life.”
One year after their first visit, the family returned to Medjugorje to give thanks. For Joshua that meant one more unusual experience.
“After twelve months we returned with a cured child,” Elizabeth says.
“There I saw Joshua lift up his eyes and smile. I knew something special was taking place. When I asked him why, he smiled and looked at the sky and said Have a peaceful and joyful Christmas. He told me he was seeing the Madonna and beside her was Padro Pio who was smiling at him.”
“We are sure that the saint of Pietrelcina is the guardian angel of our son who protected him from the beginning of this ordeal and will continue to watch over him forever.”