Known for her jokes and compliments, senior Brianne Giaimo has a positive attitude despite struggling with everyday tasks like tying her shoes.
“It’s important for people to give compliments,” Brianne said. “I also think it’s important to go to sleep.”
Brianne always has a witty remark and a sly sense of humor. Even though she may take awhile to express herself, Brianne loves a good laugh.
“She’s just a good spirit,” sister Emily Giaimo said. “With all of the things that have happened in the past, she’s still happy.”
“She’s affected so many lives because of everything she’s gone through,” mothersaid, “and she’s still able to laugh and tell jokes. She’s never complained.”
According to Jennifer, Brianne was a bright child, reading at age two. But after a tumble down concrete stairs, a CT scan revealed her mother’s worst nightmare. Brianne had a tumor on her brain stem that had been growing for years.
“I had never personally known what the feeling of hopelessness was until [the doctor] told me that she could die,” Jennifer said. “That was the worst day of my life.”
Brianne went through two brain surgeries at two-years-old, one of which included removing half of her brain. However, even after multiple surgeries, the doctors were only able to remove 90 percent of her tumor. If the last 10 percent grew, it would be fatal.
“It just felt like the Grim Reaper was always a breath away,” Jennifer said. “We were always waiting for the other shoe to fall.”
Two years later, during a routine check-up when Brianne was four- years-old, the Giaimos received another life-changing diagnosis.
“I will never forget that day. I took one look at [the doctor’s] face, and I thought, ‘Oh, God. I’m going to have to plan my baby’s funeral,’” Jennifer said, “but instead he told me, ‘This is a miracle.’ Her tumor was completely gone. We would never have to worry about it coming back again.”
The Giaimo family does not have to worry about Brianne’s tumor any longer, but Brianne still has trouble with balance, writing and other simple tasks that most people take for granted. She also suffers from epilepsy. In 2010, a 90-minute seizure that almost took her life left Brianne unconscious for two days and speechless for four.
“She’s a fighter,” Jennifer said. “Every time she has a health setback, she always bounces back.”
Brianne’s future looks bright. After finishing her time at North, Brianne hopes to attend an art-based program that allows her to learn photography and sculpting. Although her story is not a typical one, Brianne’s family says she is happy with where she is at. Brianne loves to color, draw and swim. She also enjoys playing games, like Uno, and putting together puzzles.
“It broke my heart that she could never be a doctor, but then I realized that she is who God meant for her to be,” Jennifer said. “She may be clumsy on the outside, but on the inside she’s a beautiful ballerina.”