Doctors had given up on all treatments for this young girl with leukemia, while heartbroken parents had started preparing for her funeral. However, after she was taken off medical treatment and sent home to spend her last days with her family, to everyone’s shock, she suddenly began recovering!
“We watched her die and come back to life,” the cancer fighter’s mom, Patty Furco, told PEOPLE.
Abby Furco was diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia—a rare subtype of the most common childhood cancer—on Feb. 16, 2011, at age 4. Doctors told her parents, Patty and Joe Furco, that Abby had only a 20 percent chance of survival.
Virginia 10-Year-Old Makes ‘Miraculous’ Recovery After Parents Plan Her Funeral: ‘She Defied Every Odd,’ Says Doctor https://t.co/PmuviB7dYh
— People (@people) May 16, 2017
Patty and Joe were devastated to learn that their daughter had so little hope for survival. For the next three years, Abby endured grueling treatments, long hospital stays, and fought many illnesses. During that time, all her family could do was comfort her, stay by her side, and have hope.
“We kept her surrounded by love because we knew at any moment we could lose her,” said Patty. “There were moments we didn’t know if she’d pull through, she has so many infections that could have ended her life.”
By the fall of 2013, Abby appeared to have gotten through many of the difficulties, and it seemed the nightmare was slowly coming to an end. She went back to school, had fun with her friends, played soccer, and continued in scouts.
Yet the nightmare returned a year later in September 2014, as her cancer had relapsed. This time, it was much worse.
The family was in and out of hospitals with Abby constantly, who underwent a series of treatments, including a bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy, radiation, and many more support medicines. But the devastated parents could not do anything to reduce their poor daughter’s pain and suffering. All they could do was “watch her fight and try to get better.”
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In late January 2015, Abby underwent a bone marrow transplant to save her life. Unfortunately, in February 2015, doctors found that the girl had developed a disease in which the donated marrow was attacking her body, and after a year, her kidneys began to fail. Abby was in intensive care for several months. She would not survive longer than 48 hours without dialysis.
“She was very, very sick and her body was shutting down slowly and her organs weren’t working correctly anymore and every intervention was just making her worse,” Abby’s doctor, a pediatric hematologist and oncologist, Jacob W, told PEOPLE.
“We kept her surrounded by love because we knew at any moment we could lose her,” said Patty. “There were moments we didn’t know if she’d pull through, she had so many infections that could have ended her life.”
Join me in showing support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!!! 💛 #CCAM You may use mine or create your own with this…
That day came in July 2016. “Doctors told us it was time to let her go, she was only awake for like an hour each day,” said Patty. “We began preparing our other daughters for Abby’s death.”
“Abby became completely immobile, any movement hurt her and she hardly spoke,” the mom added.
Abby was sent home under hospice care in mid July 2016, and family and friends gathered to spend her last days with her. Abby’s grandparents flew to see her for the last time, while her heartbroken parents began preparing for her funeral.
When discussing the end with Abby, she told her parents: “I have so much living to do.” And that is exactly what she did!
After a week at home, Abby slowly started waking up. “We couldn’t believe it, in a matter of days, weeks, months she started walking and getting stronger,” said her mom. “It’s an absolute miracle.”
Today, Abby’s prognosis still remains uncertain, as she battles many things and is constantly healing. Her family stays positive and cherishes every minute she’s alive. “Her zest for life is just amazing,” said Patty. “Now we’re looking to the future.”
“She’s had ups and downs, but if she continues on this path, she is going to make us all look like fools!” Dr. Jacob said. “She’s defied every single odd.”
As to what contributed to Abby’s miraculous recovery, Dr. Jacob ascribes it to the little girl’s will to live.
Today…once in a lifetime. We sat in the Vice President’s meeting room and met with him for the Pediatric Cancer…
Fast-forward to March 2019, Abby and her parents met up with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House.
“Today…once in a lifetime. We sat in the Vice President’s meeting room and met with him for the Pediatric Cancer Initiative Roundtable! 15 kiddos and stories were shared. Tour of east wing, then a tour of West Wing by the VP himself!! It was incredible!” Patty updated in a Facebook post.
We were captivated by Abby Furco’s incredible zest for life. We wish Abby more strength with each coming day!
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