Abby Furco’s life story is somewhat miraculous.
Unfortunately this ten year old girl had a tough start in life. When she was four, doctors diagnosed with leukemia and gave her a slim chance of survival.
Her parents’ world came crashing down as they were devastated receiving this sad new. However their girl was strong and never once gave up fighting for her dear life.
“We were devastated,” Abby’s mom, Patty Furco, said. “We were basically told that she was going to die, there was very little hope.”
Abby underwent a bone marrow transplant, a number of chemotherapy treatments, radiation and many trial drugs.
“We kept her surrounded by love because we knew at any moment we could lose her,” Patty said. “There were moments we didn’t know if she’d pull through, she has so many infections that could have ended her life. All we could do was watch her fight and try to get better.”
Following a series of extensive treatments, Abby’s health improved. Once again she was able to cycle a bike, play soccer, and went to school regularly. However twelve months later the cancer returned and was even more aggressive than before. Abby suddenly lost the ability to walk.
“As hard as that first diagnosis was, this one tested every ounce of our being,” Patty recalled. “She became completely immobile, any movement hurt her and she hardly spoke.”
Yet again she was forced to have another bone marrow transplant, but her little body didn’t accept the donated marrow. Abby was diagnosed with Graft versus host disease (GvHD), a condition that might occur after an allogeneic transplant. With this condition the donated bone marrow views the recipient’s body as foreign and attack it. As a result this led to kidney failure and Abby was put on dialysis.
Her parents were informed that the time had come for their girl to be let go.
“Doctors told us it was time to let her go, she was only awake for like an hour each day,” Patty said. “We began preparing our other daughters for her death.”
Abby was placed in hospice and her parents were advised to consider planning her funeral.
When the time came everyone gathered around the young girl to say their final goodbye, Abby opened her eyes and said something that left everyone speechless.
“She told us, ‘I have so much living to do,’” Patty recalled.
“We couldn’t believe it,” she added, “in a matter of days, weeks, months she started walking and getting stronger. It’s an absolute miracle.”
Doctors were confused by Abby’s sudden recovery as there was no medical explanation. Her parents were delighted their daughter was still with them.
“We helped her get home on hospice. But when we started backing off, taking away treatments so she wasn’t on so many meds, she started getting better all on her own,” Abby’s doctor, paediatric haematologist and oncologist Jacob Wessler, said.
“She’s had ups and downs, but if she continues on this path, she is going to make us all look like fools!” he added. “She’s defied every single odd.”
We never know what the future has in store for us.Abby is in remission and receives IV steroids twice a day.
“We watched her die and come back to life,” Patty said. “Now we’re looking to the future.”
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