Doctors said she had 48 hours to live, but this 9-year-old girl had other plans

August 24, 2017 3:44 pm Last Updated: August 24, 2017 3:44 pm


Doctors had grim news for then nine-year-old Abby Furco’s parents, Joe and Patty Furco—their daughter only had a few days left to live.

“[My husband] and I tried to be hopeful, yet we prepared everyone, including our other daughters, for the end,” Patty told Global News.

When Abby was four years old she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Pre-B ALL), a rare form of leukemia. She was given a 20 percent chance of survival. Abby spent years in and out of hospitals undergoing countless treatments to help her fight the disease.

By the time she was nine, Abby had endured years of hospital visits.

(Facebook/Patty Jessen Furco)

After years of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Abby went into remission. But only 11 months later she relapsed. One year later she received a bone marrow transplant, and it was after the transplant that things started to get even worse.

Abby contracted graft-versus-host disease, a side effect of the bone marrow transplant, which led to a long stay in a pediatric intensive care unit. Her kidneys started to fail, so she had to be put on dialysis. Abby’s doctors informed the Furcos that if their little girl was taken off of dialysis, she would die.

Without dialysis 24 hours a day, Abby only had days to live.

(Facebook/Patty Jessen Furco)

The Furcos decided to bring Abby back home to Virginia Beach—they had previously relocated to Chicago to be closer to the hospital where Abby was receiving treatment—so she could live out her final days at home. Her mother said:

I still have flashbacks to sitting at my dining room table with the head hospice nurse, choosing a funeral home. [My husband] Joe and I talked about where we wanted her remains. I clearly remember thinking about specific songs I wanted played during her memorial service.

During what the family thought were Abby’s final days, Abby told her mother and father—at separate times—that she knew she was supposed to die, but, “I don’t think I’m going to yet.” Joe recalled.

Abby’s family had everything for her funeral picked out.

(Facebook/Patty Jessen Furco)

At this point, Abby could barely stay awake for more than one hour a day. Since her doctors were positive they couldn’t do anything more for Abby, they lowered her medications and cut down on their visits. Everyone was preparing for Abby to die—everyone, except Abby.

“We couldn’t believe it, in a matter of days, weeks, months she started walking and getting stronger,” Patty told PEOPLE. “It’s an absolute miracle.”

Without any sort of medical explanation, Abby started to get better.

(Facebook/Patty Jessen Furco)

The Furcos and Abby’s doctors couldn’t believe it, Abby miraculously started to get better. Now, almost a year after she was on her deathbed, Abby attends school and hangs out with her friends like a normal kid.

She is currently in remission and takes IV steroids twice a day. Her future is still uncertain, but her family is extremely happy for every day they have with her. And although they are perplexed about her recovery, Abby’s doctors are amazed at her body’s ability to fight off every infection that could have killed her.

Now, Abby is living her life to the fullest.

(Facebook/Patty Jessen Furco)

“I don’t think we’ll ever know what happened, but it’s a good news and bad news situation,” Abby’s doctor, Jacob Wessler told Global News. “It’s great that it has happened, but it is a little maddening we don’t know why. But for Abby it doesn’t matter why — what matters is she’s better.”

It’s crazy what a difference a year can make!

(Facebook/Patty Jessen Furco)