Julia Lynne “Jules” Bitto, 6, of Malvern, PA went to her forever home on the evening of March 14, 2019. Julia’s passing comes nearly 19-months after being diagnosed with DIPG-Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a rare and aggressive form of pediatric brain cancer.
Born to Timothy Paul Bitto and Christy Petty Bitto, Julia lived in Malvern, PA after the family moved from Conshohocken, PA in 2014. She attended For Kids’ Sake pre-school and General Wayne Elementary School along with her big brother Colin James Bitto, 8.
Julia’s personality was larger than life, and she had a smile that could light up a room to go with it. She especially loved performing and took dance classes at Bowman Dance Company and School where her teacher lovingly referred to her as her “front and center girl.”
When she wasn’t dancing, you could find her outside with her family taking a dip in the hot tub or riding scooters and playing whiffle ball with her brother and the neighborhood kids. In the summer she loved going to Rehoboth beach where running from the waves was a favorite activity and swimming in the pool was a must! No trip to the beach was complete without hitting the rides at Funland, a quick stop at Kohr Bros. for ice cream and sitting down to dinner at Nicola Pizza.
Pizza was a staple in her diet at home as well. She enjoyed regular visits to see her friends at Venice Pizza and had a weakness for their Greek salad with homemade dressing! Julia also had a sweet tooth. At the top of her sweets list were Reese’s peanut butter cups, peanut M&M’s and Nilla wafers (which Santa delivered this past Christmas fulfilling her wish for 100 boxes!)
On August 29, 2017, Julia was diagnosed with DIPG, an inoperable, terminal brain tumor intertwined within her brainstem. Like a true warrior, Julia completed 30 radiation treatments while continuing to go to kindergarten. She then participated in a clinical trial at CHOP but after nine short months her symptoms returned and Julia went back to Penn for further radiation treatments. Julia was then able to enjoy the summer and even started 1st grade while waiting for a spot on a new trial out of NYU. Late September of 2018 she was accepted into the trial but sadly, a month later, her symptoms returned once again. Julia powered through yet a third round of radiation and was able to continue on the trial drug until February when her lung collapsed. While at the hospital, her family was told that Julia had only days or weeks to live, so they brought her home and made her as comfortable as possible until her passing 3 weeks later. Throughout it all, Julia found ways to enjoy life no matter what DIPG threw at her.