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6-year-old survivor Gia is the 2018 MACC Star designer of the Year

Posted: 10:22 PM, Nov 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-14 00:59:10Z

She's colorful and expressive. A precious six-year-old in love with Wonder Woman and singing. We interviewed her family last fall right after they learned a bone marrow match was discovered that could cure her aplastic anemia.

Fast forward more than a year later and Gia Danninger is cured.

"I feel good," said Gia.

The bone marrow transplant was a success and Gia is the 2018 designer of this years TODAY'S TMJ4 MACC Star. The prototype of her ornament includes the theme of her favorite superhero. The best thing about Wonder Woman says Gia? "She's good and she's very strong, and I am too!"

Gia's mom marvels at the strength her daughter showed through surgeries and treatments. She gets emotional thinking about her daughter's courage and the compassion shown by her big brother Jude.

"You saw how she fought and you saw her attitude you saw how Jude took care of her. He was always concerned and he was always going to take care of her. We did good."

Through the family's struggle came an important lesson that life is not perfect. Jenna Danninger admits, "Life is messy and life is going to be messy, it's going to be ugly. But it's going to be beautiful when you find that inside of're going to be O.K."

The family is grateful to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, the MACC Fund and Dr. David Margolis for helping the family through Gia's illness.

"We understand how blessed we are, but that doesn't take away our sadness knowing everyone doesn't get what we get," reflects Jenna Danninger.

And the loving mom has simple advice for all of us. "Enjoy life, go out and play, put the stuff away! That stuff can wait, Go have fun, go on a trip, just be and do, but be kind to people."

She's a reminder that when a family portrait includes a life-threatening illness, a new picture can be drawn with colors of hope.