Andrew Kaczynski's 9-month-old daughter Francesca died on Christmas Eve after a months-long battle with cancer

By Georgia Slater
December 26, 2020 06:45 PM
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Credit: Andrew Kaczynski/Twitter

CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski and his wife are feeling "grateful" for all of the messages and donations sent following the death of their 9-month-old daughter Francesca.

On Saturday, the journalist — who is married to Wall Street Journal reporter Rachel Louise Ensign — expressed the couple's appreciation for all of the kind words shared and money raised since their daughter's death on Christmas Eve.

"Thank you everyone, your messages have touched our hearts," Kaczynski, 31, wrote on Twitter Saturday.

After Francesca's death, which came three months after Kaczynski said she was diagnosed with an "extremely rare and very aggressive rhabdoid brain tumor," the family asked that all donations in honor of the infant be made to the PMC Winter Cycle charity event, which donates all proceeds to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

According to the PMC Winter Cycle page, the event for cancer research has already raised more than $320,000.

Credit: GoFundMe

"We're so grateful for how much money has been raised in Francesca's honor for Dana Farber to fight this terrible disease and we are going to spend the rest of our lives involved in finding a cure," Kaczynski wrote on Saturday.

On Friday, the reporter shared on Twitter that he and his wife were "heartbroken" to announce that their daughter, who they nicknamed "Bean," had died after complications due to cancer.

"We’re heartbroken to have to announce our beautiful daughter Francesca passed away last night in the arms of her mom and dad," he wrote. "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."

In early September, Kaczynski shared that his daughter had already undergone "two brain surgeries" and she was the "strongest person and most resilient person."

Earlier this month, Kaczynski said that his daughter had developed a "terrible fungal infection," and was put on a ventilator and life support.

Prior to Francesca's death, he asked that everyone keep his daughter in their prayers during the holiday. "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," Kaczynski wrote.

On Friday, Kaczynski shared the touching obituary that he and Ensign wrote about their daughter, in which they remembered her as "an outgoing, bold and curious baby."

"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."

"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," they wrote. "Francesca showed her parents a kind of love they never knew before and they will never forget it."