CV NEWS FEED // Seven-year-old Mary Stegmueller’s twofold dream was to attend a Luke Bryan concert and to meet the musician in person. Last week, her dream came true. But Mary is no ordinary seven-year-old.
As first reported by Denver Catholic, Mary was diagnosed in 2020 at the age of four with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare form of cancer with no known treatment.
Most patients with DIPG are given a prognosis of mere weeks, but as a result of a new Car-T cell trial at Stanford University and the prayers and support of her community, Mary will be 34 months past her initial diagnosis in August.
>>>Read the full account of Mary’s journey here.<<<
Mary considers herself Luke Bryan’s number one fan. Since it would have been difficult for her to attend a concert as a member of the general audience, a generous donor secured a private suite for Mary and her family.
Next, Kristin Stegmueller (Mary’s mom) posted on her CaringBridge page about the girl’s dream of meeting Bryan. The Archdiocese of Denver took it from there!
The Archdiocese shared a post of Mary dancing to one of Bryan’s songs, asking the Catholic community to share the post and pray that the singer and his team would hear about Mary.
Social media users did not disappoint.
FOX 31 News soon discovered the story and did a news segment on it the evening before the concert. The day of the concert, Mary’s family received a call from someone at the concert venue letting them know Mary could meet Luke Bryan.
Just before Bryan started his show, Mary was brought backstage where they were able to visit.
The week following the concert, Mary began her 45th session of radiation.
The Stegmueller family hopes that, through Mary’s story, they will be able to raise awareness about this rare but deadly disease. About 300 children are diagnosed with DIPG every year and only 10% of patients survive past two years.
Only 4% of cancer-related federal funding goes toward pediatrics and only a fraction of that goes to DIPG, which is the most fatal cancer there is. There is not a lot of money even for research.
Kristin Stegmueller spoke about the weekly anointing Mary receives, in addition to the role prayer has played throughout their family’s journey.
“Our friends have reached out to several different monasteries internationally. We have so many people behind us praying for us, and it means so much just to know we have that support and the prayers of others going up,” Stegmueller said:
Doctors and medicine are necessary, but the spiritual component is needed for strength, too. Whenever we get a card that someone is offering a Mass, it means so much. It means not only that people are remembering her and caring for her, but also that people are offering whatever they can to help.
Mary’s story serves as a good reminder of the effectiveness of prayer, and the power we have to help those most in need in our local communities.