When Abby Furco was just four years old, she got really sick with something called leukemia. Her mom and dad were very sad when the doctors said Abby only had a 20 percent chance of getting better. It felt like they were being told Abby might not make it.
But Abby was a brave little girl. Even though it was tough, she didn’t give up. For the next six years, Abby and her family had to go to different hospitals a lot. They lived in Virginia Beach, and sometimes they had to travel to other places for Abby’s treatments. Abby’s mom, Patty, said they kept her surrounded by love because they knew Abby might not make it. There were times when they were really worried, not knowing if Abby would get better. She had many infections that could have been very dangerous.
In October 2013, Abby had finished her treatment for leukemia. It was a happy time for the family. That year, she could be a normal kid, go to school, play with friends, do soccer, and be in the girl scouts. But sadly, her cancer came back a year later, and this time it was even worse.
After some time, Abby couldn’t move because it hurt too much. Even talking was hard for her. Her family decided to move to Chicago so they could be nearer to the hospital.
In February 2015, Abby got a special treatment called a bone marrow transplant, but her body didn’t accept it.
Later, in May 2016, Abby’s kidneys stopped working.
This time, doctors explained that Abby only had 48 hours to live. She was taken out of the intensive care unit to spend her last moments on earth at home with her family.
Abby’s parents started planning for the funeral. They chose her coffin and picked out music for the service. Her grandparents flew in to say goodbye.
When everyone believed things were coming to an end for Abby, she surprised everyone. She opened her eyes and whispered, “I have so much living to do.” Even though she wasn’t getting treatment anymore, and her family thought it was time to say goodbye, Abby didn’t give up. She kept fighting, and against all expectations, she started getting better. Abby’s mom, Patty, said it was like a miracle – in just a few days, weeks, and months, she started walking and getting stronger.
A year after Abby’s amazing recovery, doctors couldn’t figure out why it happened. In June 2017, she had a big step forward – she got rid of her Hickman cathedrals, a medical device that was part of her treatment. This was a great progress!
When Abby turned 10, her cancer was finally gone.
Her mom, Patty, said, “We watched her die and come back to life. Now, we’re looking to the future,” in 2017.
But after eleven months, Abby’s cancer came back.
Sadly, the bone marrow transplant caused problems, and Abby’s health got worse in the fall of 2019. She was diagnosed with a condition called acute graft vs. host disease, and the damage from chemotherapy was severe. Abby faced kidney failure and a stroke, and she couldn’t recover.
After fighting against cancer for many years, Abby’s body couldn’t take it anymore. Everything that could be done had been done.
Surrounded by her family, with a lot of love and comfort, Abby passed away on October 19, 2021.
She was 15.
The strong and brave girl, Abby, left a big emptiness when she passed away. Many of us hoped she would get through everything, especially those who followed her journey for a long time. Sadly, Abby didn’t get the chance to grow up and experience life fully, but the way she faced challenges continues to inspire us.
Abby’s family wrote in the obituary, “We are thankful for the fifteen beautiful years Abby lived and for all those that loved her. Abby reached far and we are blessed that her journey touched so many for good.”
Abby’s mom, Patty, still fights to honor Abby’s memory. Every year, she organizes events to raise money and helps the American Red Cross collect blood donations. Abby needed a lot of blood during her treatments, so Patty knows how important this is. The family also created a nonprofit called Abby’s Legacy Foundation.
In 2023, the second Abby Furco Memorial Color Fun Run took place. About 300 people ran or walked, and 100 volunteers helped out. Abby’s friends, Carolina, Elizabeth, and Jenna, organized this 5k event in Abby’s old neighborhood. Elizabeth and Caroline said, “When she walked into a room, she just lit up a room. She had this huge personality with her laugh and her smile was everything. She was just amazing to be around. We thought a color run would encapsulate her colorful personality.”
During the race, family and friends felt like Abby was watching with a smile. Patty Furco said, “There was an amazing rainbow at the start, so we know that she’s here with us. We miss her terribly, but we know that Abby is smiling and she’s proud of everyone.”
Her family and friends continues to uphold the memory of their precious Abby, and I believe we should do the same by sharing this article on Facebook!