CNN political reporter Andrew Kaczynski and wife and Wall Street Journal banking reporter Rachel Louise Ensign are mourning the loss of their 9-month-old daughter Francesca, who died on Christmas Eve after a cancer battle.
Andrew, 31, shared the devastating news on Twitter. "We're heartbroken to have to announce our beautiful daughter Francesca passed away last night in the arms of her mom and dad," he tweeted. "There will always be a Bean-sized hole in our hearts for her. We're so grateful to have known her love. Francesca we love you."
Andrew announced in September that at age 6 months, Francesca was diagnosed with an "extremely rare and very aggressive rhabdoid brain tumor." Since then, his friends, CNN colleagues such as Jake Tapper and Twitter followers rallied behind Francesca and her family as they posted updates about her heath. Months ago, she underwent brain surgery and developed meningitis. In recent weeks, Francesca battled a fungal infection—a complication of her chemotherapy, and was put on a ventilator and life support.
On Thursday, Christmas Eve, Andrew tweeted, "If anyone can spare a pray for our Bean this Christmas, would just ask they include Francesca in their thoughts and hope for a Christmas miracle for our family." Hours later, he announced her death and and his wife shared an obituary they wrote for their little girl.
"In her short life, Francesca was an outgoing, bold and curious baby," it read. "She had huge, deep brown eyes that followed whatever her parents were doing. She loved eating and being held close, particularly in the evenings. A Brooklyn-based Sesame Street fan, Francesca enjoyed taking long walks around New York City and Boston, playing with her toys and balloons, attending speech therapy, and 'petting' (i.e. grabbing) her cat Ryland."
The couple wrote, "One of her favorite activities was to practice rolling in her crib from side to side. She loved seeing her parents, Andrew Kaczynski and Rachel Ensign, and greeting them with the world's biggest smile and an excited kick when she woke up from a nap. Her many smiles sent a thrill through the world. She was so generous with them, even when most of the smiles back were covered by masks and even when she faced challenges that would scare an adult, like a cancer diagnosis or being born with hearing loss."
Andrew and Rachel wrote that their child "showed her parents a kind of love they never knew before and they will never forget it." The obituary also states that Francesca is also survived by her "Bubbe, her grandparents, her aunt and uncle and cousins."
In lieu of flowers, food, or gifts of any kind, donations can be made in honor of Francesca to the PMC Winter Cycle charity event, which donates their proceeds to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.