3-Year-Old Girl Beats the Odds, Overcomes Brain Tumor

Her family will share its heartwarming story during Miracle Weekend

May 30, 2001

Sara Minni's positive outlook is one of the major reasons it's been more than 18 months since the beautiful 3-year-old beat the odds by beating a brain tumor.

"I think Sara was put on this Earth for a very specific reason," says her mother, Tricia Minni. "I'm not sure what it is yet, but I'm excited to find out."

As part of its Miracle Weekend celebration, Children's Hospital at Strong is honoring five children - including Sara - as Miracle Kids. Each child overcame significant health problems while being treated at Children's Hospital at Strong.

Sara's Story

Sara, who lives in Spencerport, wasn't even a year old when her parents received a devastating diagnosis - their beautiful baby had cancer.

"Sara was a perfectly content baby when she had a woozy spell and experienced unsteadiness," says David Korones, M.D., an oncologist at Children's Hospital at Strong. "She ended up getting an MRI scan and was found to have a large brain tumor."

Less than 24 hours after it was discovered, the tumor was completely removed during a lengthy surgery. Further testing revealed that the tumor was malignant, so Sara received a year of chemotherapy and radiation and handled it far better than most.

"Normally, such an assault would devastate a child, but Sara thrived," Korones says. "She continued to grow and develop and was the darling of 4-1600, the unit where she stayed at the hospital."

Sara's parents, Tricia and Donald Minni, are grateful to Sara's grandparents Godparents, and many family friends who supported their daughter during her treatment.

They say Sara is "making up for lost time."

"She is so full of life and energy," Tricia Minni says. "She has a head of thick, beautiful, blond hair. It's so curly! I tell her she is being rewarded for the time she was bald."

Sara's parents are grateful to the staff at Children's Hospital at Strong for helping Sara beat her cancer. They're thankful for the oncology services available in Rochester. "I can't say enough about everybody at Children's Hospital who helped us," Tricia Minni says. "Especially Dr. Korones, who is just outstanding."

Since her treatment ended, Sara has had MRI scans on a quarterly basis to make sure there are no signs of the tumor recurring. Soon, she will need MRI check-ups only twice a year.

"Sara continues to do beautifully," Korones says. "She walks, she talks a mile a minute, and she can even write her name. She's not only a miracle, she's a gem."

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