VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A Virginia Beach teenager, who has captured the heart of the community, is acknowledging and celebrating ten years since she was diagnosed with cancer.
Abby Furco is now a freshman at Kellam High School. She was just four-years-old when doctors diagnosed her with a form of Leukemia.
After several years of intense treatment, the cancer came back, and she underwent a life-saving bone marrow transplant. Since then, 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. “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 this ten-year “Cancerversary,” as Patty Furco calls it, she arranged a special surprise. More than 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, partly in school and partly homebound. She said the virtual school model has improved.
“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 explained.
To celebrate her ten-year “Cancerversary,” Abby, got to make the menu for the day. Mother, Patty, joked that Abby had chocolate donut holes for breakfast and not to tell her doctors who monitor her insulin.
Patty said it’s an honor to have their journey be a source 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.”