It wasn’t too long ago when Abby Furco celebrated ten years since she was first diagnosed with cancer in February of last year. Abby was just four-years-old when doctors diagnosed her with a form of Leukemia. She is now a freshman at Kellam High School.
Remembering Abby Furco: The Teen Who Celebrated and Fought Cancer for 10 Years
After several years of intense treatment, the cancer returned and she underwent a life-saving bone marrow transplant. And since that transplant, she’s had to deal with other serious health problems including heart failure.
“We acknowledge this day in a happy way,” said Abby’s mom, Patty Furco, as the two sat together in early 2021. “Even though most people think cancer is sad and dark, but we’ve lived it for ten years, right? And it’s a journey.”
On their ten-year “Cancerversary,” as Patty Furco has coined it, she crafted a special surprise. Over 100 people who have been in Abby’s life over the years, sent video messages of love and support. Messages came from friends, family, doctors, and nurses.
“I had no idea that the video was made until this morning,” Abby told News 3. “And so far, it’s been amazing to see. I’ve only seen a handful of the messages, and I’ve already been moved multiple times,” Abby said as tears rolled down her cheeks.
Abby has spent much of her school years in and out of treatment, usually partly in school and partly at home. The virtual school model has allegedly improved in that time, according to Abby.
“Even years later when we’re back in-person, full-time again, for kids who do homebound, they’ll be using a format like this that we’re using currently because it’s so smooth,” the 14-year-old shared.
To celebrate her ten-year “Cancerversary,” Abby, crafted a menu for the day. Her mother joked that how because Abby had chocolate donut holes for breakfast, she should not tell her doctors who monitor her insulin.
Patty said it is a gift to be able to be a symbol of strength for those currently battling illnesses.
“We’ve had over 100 people submit to this video which just makes us feel so loved,” added Patty. “And I want to make sure Abby knows how many people are cheering for her, praying for her, and how much strength she gives them with whatever they’re conquering.”
Abby eventually passed away on October 19, 2021, but will always be remembered for the “sparkle in her eye and a smile on her face.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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