Eighteen year-old Kristen is the epitome of hope.
Despite being diagnosed with a rare bone cancer, Kristen lives each day of his life with inspiring courage and high spirits. It was Kristen’s wish to show his gratitude for the blessings he’s received despite his condition. He wished to go on a religious pilgrimage to Rome, where he could meet the Pope and visit the monumental basilicas and churches. According to Kristen’s parent, this wish gave Kristen “something to look forward to, even though he still was going through treatment.”
When Kristen and his family arrived in Rome, they went to the vatican and experienced what would become Kristen’s most memorable part of the entire trip; meeting Pope Benedict XVI. He was treated to a VIP experience, as he sat in a special section of the Pope’s audience. It was a moving and breathtaking moment for all when Kristen personally met the Pope. Pope Benedict XVI shared a private moment with Kristen and offered a prayer and
blessing over him. Kristen’s week-long trip was a source of inspiration and joy for the entire family. They immersed themselves in the rich history of Rome and Italy, visiting the Roman Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua and also got to meet up with Italian members of their own family!
For Kristen and his family, this trip was a really a gift that keeps on giving. Kristen got the experience of a lifetime in Rome and the memories made on this trip will last forever for him and his family. As Kristen continues to fight his illness, he and his family will always be able to look back on this extraordinary experience and reminisce on all of the hope that it has brought them.