12-year-old Julia Bruzzese of Brooklyn, New York has revealed that her miraculous journey to walking again began right after she was blessed by Pope Francis.
According to CBS News, Bruzzese had been forced to use a wheelchair after she suffered a sudden paralysis that doctors could not explain. Although she had been experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease, there had been no signs of the disease in her blood.
In September, Bruzzese and her mother met the pontiff at JFK Airport during a greeting: "[Meeting the pope was] the most precious moment of my life," the young girl said.
"He looked me right in the eyes; I kissed his hand and thanked him, and I walked away [saying] 'she's gonna be okay,'" added Julia's mother, Josephine Bruzzese.
Five days later, doctors were able to detect Lyme disease in Bruzzese's blood, meaning they could now properly treat the disease. According to the Daily Mail, one doctor even offered to treat her free of charge after learning about her story.
"The miracle has begun," said the 12 year old. "Yesterday, I went to the doctor and for the first time they saw Lyme disease activity in my blood, and that just shows a miracle can happen if you believe, just like I did. If you believe and pray everything can happen."
In another interview with NBC New York, Buzzese said she is confident she will walk again one day. "It means that he's going to give me a miracle to walk again," the girl said. "I know I will walk again because of him."
Once she is able to walk again, Buzzese says she wants to get back to playing softball and soccer and singing in the choir.
"It's unfortunate that this has happened. This experience has made me wiser, made me look at life in a different perspective. Life is precious," she said.
This is not the first time Pope Francis has been credited with performing a miracle. In March, he reportedly turned the dried blood of St. Gennaro into liquid in Naples.
In September, an American couple from Arizona claimed that a blessing from Francis a year prior healed their 3-month-old daughter's heart condition.
The Cassidy family had traveled to Rome in 2014 in hopes of seeing the pope. After waiting hours in the rain at the barricade at St. Peter's square, Scott Cassidy lifted his daughter, Ave, to Francis, who was passing by in his vehicle. After asking about the child's condition, the pontiff gave her his blessing.
The child's mother, Lynn Cassidy, told the Washington Post, "When we got home in May, we went back to the cardiologist for a check-up. One of the holes was completely closed and one was half the size."
She added, "Doctors don't talk about miracles. Even if they're faithful, they don't talk about it like that. I believe in miracles. And I do believe that God can act through the pope's blessings in miraculous ways."