With quiet confidence Sydney Khoury climbs each step of a metal ladder as she positions herself to place a crown of flowers atop a statue of the Blessed Mother at St. Philip Church in Greenville, R.I.
It's a bit of a reach for Sydney, but with determination, the nine-year-old extends her arms, carefully placing her tribute atop the head of the Mother of Jesus.
A short distance away, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, R.I. watches admiringly as the St. Philip School second-grader successfully overcomes yet another obstacle in her young life. Three years ago, Bishop Tobin also witnessed Sydney overcome one her greatest challenges. At that time, as she lay in the Intensive Care Unit of Hasbro Children's Hospital with her life hanging in the balance, the bishop prayed over her with a relic of Mother Teresa.
Sydney's parents say the prayerful intervention yielded results nothing short of miraculous.
In November 2007, Sydney was diagnosed with a Stage 3 malignant tumor on her kidney. Two days later, doctors removed her kidney and started her on a treatment regimen of chemotherapy and radiation. The overall success rate of the treatment was only 42 percent they were told.
For nearly three months, her condition was stable. Then, a robust round of chemotherapy quickly took its toll on her."