The life of Abby Furco is a wonderful illustration of how miracles may happen.
The sweet ten-year-old girl had a challenging upbringing. When she was four years old, doctors discovered she had leukemia and offered her a 20% chance of survival. The news devastated her parents, but they never stopped battling for her life since they knew their daughter was a warrior.
Abby’s mother, Patty Furco, stated, “We were shattered.” We were essentially told that she would die and that there was little chance of survival.
Abby has experienced a lot. She had a bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and various drug trials.
We kept her in a loving environment since we knew we may lose her at any time, Patty said. “She has so many illnesses that might have killed her that there were times when we weren’t sure if she would survive. ” We could only watch her suffer and pray for a positive outcome.
After many therapies, Abby started to feel better. She also often played soccer, rode her bike, and went to school. However, a year later, the cancer returned. This time, it was a lot stronger than it was compared to the first. Abby’s capacity for walking was abruptly lost.
As tough as the initial diagnosis was, Patty says, “this one really tested every fiber of our being.” She became completely motionless, and every movement hurt her.
The child was forced to have a second bone marrow transplant, but this time her body rejected the donor marrow, and she was identified as having Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD), a condition that can arise after an allogeneic donation.
In GvHD, the transplanted bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells interpret the recipient’s body as foreign and begin attacking it. Abby’s renal failure led to the need for dialysis.
It was time for her parents to let their daughter go since there was nothing else they could do.
She was only awake for one hour a day, so the doctors said it was time to let her go, Patty said. The mother explains, “We started preparing our other girls for her passing.”
Abby was put on hospice care, and her grieving parents were even told to begin planning her burial.
As everyone gathered to say goodbye to Abby, she opened her eyes and said something that everyone found astonishing.
She told us, “I have so much living to do,” Patty said.
She started walking and becoming stronger in a matter of days, weeks, and months, and we couldn’t believe it, she said. Simply said, it’s a miracle.
Medical experts were unable to explain Abby’s fast recovery. The doctors were puzzled. Abby’s parents didn’t care that they didn’t have the answers; all they wanted was for their daughter to survive.
“She started getting better on her own when we started backing off, taking away therapy so she wasn’t on so many meds,” Abby’s doctor, pediatric hematologist and oncologist Jacob Wessler, said. “We helped her get hospice care at home.”
She has had her ups and downs, but if she continues down this path, he said, “she’ll make us all seem like idiots.” She has overcome all odds.
Nobody knows what the future may bring, but for now Abby is healthy and thriving. She is receiving twice-daily IV steroids and is in remission.
“We witnessed her die and then come back to life,” said Patty. “It’s time to start planning for the future right now.”