Abby Furco, ten years old, has known only one thing her entire life: cancer!
At four, the lovely young girl developed leukemia. After being given a 20% chance of surviving, the brave little fifth grader put up an incredible battle.
Patty Furco, Abby’s mother, said, “We were crushed.” “We were informed she would die, and there wasn’t much chance.”
During those six years, her family did everything to provide Abby with the greatest possible existence. Even when she had to go through arduous operations such as bone marrow transplants, intensive chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and medication trials, her family stood by her side, encouraging her and making certain she was loved and cared for.
“We kept her surrounded by affection because we knew we could lose her at any moment,” Patty explained. “There were times when we weren’t sure she’d make it; she has so many diseases that might have killed her.” All we could do was watch her struggle and hope for the best.”
Hope emerged one day in October 2013, after Abby had completed therapies and had been permitted to live her life as a normal child her age for the previous year. She got to go to Girl Scout meetings, play soccer and other sports, and go to school every day.
Her joy was short-lived, as the disease returned with a fury in September of the following year.
“As difficult as the first diagnosis was, this one put every ounce of our being to the test,” Patty said. “She became utterly immobile, and every movement caused her pain.”
In February 2015, another bone marrow transplant was required, but the diagnosis that followed stunned everyone. The graft-versus-hot disease is a condition in which given bone marrow destroys the recipient’s body.
Her kidneys began to fail soon after. Her body was failing, so she was admitted to intensive care, where doctors told her parents she only had two days to live if she was removed from dialysis.
It was time to say their goodbyes and let their little angel go.
“Doctors advised it was time to let her go because she was barely awake for one hour a day,” Patty explained. “We started preparing our other daughters for her death,” says the mother.
Abby had been admitted to hospice care, and her grandparents were scheduled to fly in to say their final farewells. Her parents had begun making plans for the burial, including selecting a casket and arranging music.
Abby woke up, and a miracle was about to happen right in front of their eyes.
Patty recounted, “She told us, ‘I have so much living to do.'”
“We couldn’t believe it,” she said, “she started walking and getting stronger in days, weeks, and months.” It’s nothing short of a miracle.”
Doctors were shocked at Abby’s recovery as well — there is no medical explanation for her recovery.
“We assisted her in receiving hospice care at home. Abby’s doctor, the pediatric hematologist and oncologist Jacob Wessler, said, “When we started backing off, taking away therapies, so she wasn’t on so many drugs, she started getting better on her own.”
“She’s had her ups and downs, but if she keeps going in this direction, she’ll make us all look like fools!” he added. “She’s defied all the odds.”
Abby is currently in remission and receives twice-daily IV steroids. It’s still unclear whether she’ll be able to maintain her health, but her family is optimistic. The path to rehabilitation will not always be smooth, but Abby will take each day as it comes, focusing on the moments she has long desired.
Her family is savoring every moment they have with Abby.
Patty remarked, “We watched her die and then come back to life.” “Now it’s time to think about the future.”