VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — This year is the 30th anniversary of National Cancer Survivors Day, which takes place on the first Sunday in June. 10 On Your Side is supporting the survivors in our area and that includes 10-year-old Abby Furco.
Furco was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia in 2011, when she was four-years-old. She was given 48 hours to live. Her mom had picked a funeral home and her eulogy was being written, but that was one year ago and Abby is still here today.
“I don’t remember all that much, but I thought the doctor’s was scary,” said Furco. “But I gave it time. Some people have to fight harder than others to get through their time and I am one of those kids who had to fight really hard.”
In February 2015, she was diagnosed with Graft-versus-host disease, which is a condition where donated marrow attacks the body. Furco’s kidneys began failing in May 2016 and she was put in intensive care. Doctors told the Furcos that their precious daughter had up to 48 hours to live.
“When I heard that, I was just so upset that I had so many things that I wanted to do, that I couldn’t do when I heard that,” said Furco.
She has dreams to be a chef, to grow up with her two sisters and to kiss her mother, Patty.
“I had to choose a funeral home and we started talking about caskets,” said Patty. “We were already grieving her passing. She was still with us, but we were grieving. We brought family in, we had hundreds of people through here that week of everyone that loves her and our pastor was here everyday and our hospice nurses was here everyday and we were just waiting for the day that we believed wouldn’t wake up. But there is something in her and no one knows what it is.”
Abby was brought home. Her family slept next to her in the living room — all five of them.
“When you are someone with cancer, tomorrow is not a guarantee,” said Furco. “So I just kept hoping that I would see tomorrow and wake up and see tomorrow.”
And this little miracle kept waking up to see tomorrow. That was one year ago.
“Things just turned around,” said Patty. “Her health turned around and we don’t know why. And even doctors now still don’t know why. We support her. It’s all about quality of life. Look at her. She is graduating fifth grade next week and I wouldn’t have been able to do that. I wouldn’t be able to do that, but when you are 10 there is just no choice. There is just no time for feeling sorry for herself.”
“It feels great that I can be an inspiration to anyone to fight whatever it is… just going through life. Even if you’re not a person with cancer, if you’re not a kid. Anyone,” said Furco.
Doctors still do not know how Furco came to be cancer free, but all are optimistic.
“She has a will to live. Not that other kids that unfortunately do pass, they don’t not have the will to live but there is just something in her that kept going. Between God, prayers, medicine, guidance and love from our family and our community it was just this hole coming together that encouraged Abby to keep going and keep living and her health turned around and we just don’t know why.”
Sentara Healthcare is providing a way to support loved ones through a website. It’s nothing more than sending in photos, inspirational quotes and themes to honor cancer survivors. Survivors will then get a a personalized postcard or email message of love and support to a cancer survivor on behalf of friends, family or loved ones.