Girl With Down Syndrome and Cancer Has Unforgettable Reaction to Self Portrait

PHOTO: Celia Furtado was thrilled to see a photo of herself at a gallery event for Down Syndrome Awareness Month.Laura Kilgus/9ten Photography
Celia Furtado was thrilled to see a photo of herself at a gallery event for Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

One little girl's reaction to a photo taken of herself almost a year ago is priceless.

"[Celia] was thrilled," mom Katie Furtado of Cranston, R.I., told ABC News today. "When she saw it, she started screaming and pointing to herself. I think the whole world looks at Celia differently now since she doesn't have any hair and she's lost a lot of weight, but I was relieved that Celia still sees Celia."

Celia, 5, who has Down syndrome, was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma in April. Furtado said Celia is starting to bounce back from her chemotherapy treatments, which will last two years.

"A lot of her personality was put on hold for quite a few months, but like I said to someone the other day, 'She's back,'" said Furtado.

Photographer Laura Kilgus of Providence said she voluntarily snapped photos of Furtado's children last fall in conjunction with the Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island -- something she said she does for a number of families in the area.

"I have a nephew with Down syndrome and I wanted to do something to raise awareness," Kilgus said. "I thought it would be cool to do a mini-shoot, so I contacted the director about it and the Furtados were one of the families that took us up on our offer."

On Oct. 1, Kilgus hosted a gallery for Down Syndrome Awareness Month at the Warwick Public Library, where she displayed her photography, including shots of Celia and her sister Ava.

As the Furtado family arrived at the event, Kilgus took another photo of Celia -- this time, capturing her tear-jerking reaction while viewing a portrait of herself.

"She spotted herself right away and she pointed and smiled," Kilgus said. "The past few months for Celia and her family have been so difficult and exhausting. This was something that could be a little light for them and give them a little hope and showcase some memories that were such fun days."