Abby Furco was only 4 years old when she was told she had leukemia.
Her heartbroken parents were told that their beloved daughter only had a 20% chance of living. No parent wants to hear that, and for Abby’s parents, it was almost the same as learning that their four-year-old had been sentenced to death.
The brave girl wouldn’t give up, though.
The Furco family spent the next six years going back and forth between different hospitals and their home in Virginia Beach.
”We kept her surrounded by love because we knew at any moment we could lose her. There were moments we didn’t know if she’d pull through; she has so many infections that could have ended her life,” Abby’s mom, Patty, told People, in 2017.
Abby was finally done with her treatment in October 2013. The family seemed to see a glimmer of hope: 2013 was a “beautiful” year when she could enjoy life like any other kid.
She could play soccer, go to school, hang out with her friends, and join the Girl Scouts. However, Abby’s cancer would not go away, as it did many times before.
The dangerous disease came back a year later, and this time it was even worse than before.
Abby quickly lost the ability to move. It was so painful for her to move that she could hardly open her mouth to talk. So that they could be closer to the hospital, her family moved all the way to Chicago.
Abby got a bone marrow donation in February 2015, but her body didn’t accept it.
Then, in May 2016, her kidneys stopped working.
This time, the doctors told Abby she only had 48 hours to live. The special care unit was closed down so she could spend her last days with her family at home.
The service for Abby’s death was planned by her parents. They chose her casket and the music that would be played at the service. People from her family flew in to say goodbye.
But Abby opened her eyes and said in a whisper, “I have so much living to do.” Everyone thought that was the end.
Abby kept fighting even after she was no longer getting care and her family was saying their last goodbyes. She beat all the odds.
”We couldn’t believe it, in a matter of days, weeks, months she started walking and getting stronger. It’s an absolute miracle,” Abby’s mom, Patty, told People.
A year after the surprise, doctors still couldn’t figure out how Abby got better so quickly. As of June 2017, Abby got rid of her Hickman cathedrals, which were an inoperative intravenous tube system that kept cancer-causing substances in and for people who need dialysis all the time. A big step forward!
Abby’s cancer was finally gone by the time she turned 10.
”We watched her die and come back to life. Now, we’re looking to the future,” Abby’s mom, Patty, told People back in 2017.
But after eleven months, the cancer came back.
She was able to go to school after a bone marrow donation that saved her life, and her family had hope again. Even though they didn’t know what the future held, Abby’s family always felt grateful for every moment they had her.
Unfortunately, there were some problems with the bone marrow transplant, and Abby’s health got worse again in the fall of 2019. Abby was told she had acute graft vs. host disease, and chemotherapy did a lot of damage to her heart. The brave little girl had a stroke and her kidneys stopped working. She never got better.
Abby’s body could no longer handle beating cancer for another year. It had been possible to do everything that could be done.
She died on October 19, 2021, surrounded by her family, with lots of love, support, and peace.
She was 15 years old.
The brave little girl who moved and inspired so many people has definitely left a big hole. Those of us who had been following her trip for a long time had all hoped she would make it. The sad truth is that Abby never got to fully enjoy life as an adult, but the way she dealt with this problem continues to inspire us.
”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,” her family wrote in the obituary.
Happy 16th Birthday in heaven to our Abby! Words cannot describe what it feels like to not have her on this earth with…
Patty, Abby’s mom, keeps fighting in her honor. She helps the American Red Cross get blood donations every year and plans events. Patty knows how important this is because Abby needed a lot of blood during her different treatments. The family also started a charity in her name, which they call Abby’s Legacy Foundation.
Three hundred runners and walkers, along with one hundred helpers, came to the second annual Abby Furco Memorial Color Fun Run in 2023. Three of Abby’s best friends—Carolina, Elizabeth, and Jenna—planned this 5k run in the neighborhood where she used to live.
”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,” her friends, Elizabeth Castano and Caroline Nelson, told 3WTKR.Copy
During the race, Abby’s family and friends said they thought she was smiling and looking down.
”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” Patty Furco said.
The memory of their sweet Abby is still being honored by her family and friends. I think we should do the same by SHARING this young hero on Facebook!