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Where Are They Now: Christina Fragnito

October 30, 2019

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its opening in Bethlehem. As part of the milestone, we are looking back at former patients over the last 10 years.

Today, we catch up with Christina Fragnito.

It was September 29, 2010, when Christina Fragnito was diagnosed with a brain tumor about the size of a quarter.

Christina was 14 years old and just starting her freshman year in high school.

The diagnosis started a winding road of multiple surgeries, medical complications, significant weight gain, three separate stays at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit and a determined effort to get back to her life, as chronicled in Sweet Charity in 2014:

Another bout with hydrocephalus and sickening headaches that barely let up brought Christina to the neurosurgeon’s table yet again on November 15, 2011. 

‘I’m very nervous and scared,’ Christina wrote the day before in her online journal on Caringbridge.org. ‘I thought it would be easier but it’s just harder.’

Although most of the tumor was removed, the surgery left Christina partially paralyzed on her right side and cost her a good deal of her vision. Five days later, Christina was back at the Good Shepherd Pediatric Unit.  

The second stay at Good Shepherd lasted almost a month. The hurdles for recovery were higher. Christina couldn’t use her right hand or arm and had lost much of the feeling in her right leg. Her impaired vision further challenged her, and she needed speech therapy. The weight gain further limited her mobility in therapy.

‘I’ve Been Amazing’

Five years after her final discharge from the Pediatric Unit, 23-year-old Christina lives in Whitehall, Pennsylvania, and works at a daycare center.

While the partial paralysis on her right side forced her to become a lefty, she says she feels great. She lost 200 pounds, and she continues coming to Good Shepherd for outpatient vision therapy and physical therapy.

“I’ve been amazing,” says Christina. “I’m very mobile. I don’t walk with a cane or a walker.”

Christina spends time with her family and friends, goes to country music concerts and basically says “yes” to anything that gets her out of the house. She also volunteers with Good Shepherd at the Health & Technology Center.

“I’m living life to the fullest and doing new things each day,” she says.

What does Christina remember most about her three stays on the Pediatric Unit?

“The staff really made everything worth it,” says Christina. “And the doctors. They just really cared about you.”

To learn more about the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit, call 1-888-44-REHAB or request an appointment.