Family credits pope for saving son from cancer

Posted: 02/12/13 at 4:40 pm EST

DENVER (NBC) -- The world viewed Pope Benedict XVI as the leader of more than a billion Catholics world-wide. He was regularly seen speaking to thousands in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

But Peter Srsich saw a different side of the pope.

When Peter was just 17 years old he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

"He had a chest x-ray and it revealed a softball sized tumor in his chest," Laura Srsich, Peter's mother, said. "It was determined that it was stage four non-Hodgkin's lymphoma."

While doctors at Children's Hospital Colorado worked to save Peter's life, the Make-a-Wish Foundation granted him his wish.

"First thing Peter said, 'I'd love to go meet the Pope in Rome,'" Laura said.

On a sunny day in May Peter got his chance to meet Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square.

"When I got up to actually talk to him I was struck by how human he was," Peter said. "It was a humbling experience for me to see how humble he was."

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