In May of 2016, Abby Furco’s kidneys shut down. Doctors said she would die within 48 hours if taken off dialysis and told her parents to prepare for her death.
So they did. They called the funeral home, selected music they would play at her funeral and picked out a casket.
But then a miracle occurred. Doctors had no way of explaining it, but Abby made a full recovery.
Abby was diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 4 and given a 20 percent chance of survival.
“We were devastated,” Abby’s mom Patty Furco told PEOPLE. “We were basically told that she was going to die, there was very little hope.”
Abby was in remission for 11 months then her cancer came back in 2014.
Over the next six years, Abby spent her time in and out of hospitals undergoing bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy, radiation, and trial drug treatments.
Knowing that Abby could take a turn for the worse at any moment, the family stayed close to her and surrounded her with love and support. There were many times of uncertainty throughout this period where she contracted infections that could have ended her life.
“All we could do was watch her fight and try to get better,” Patty said.
The side effects from her transplant started to take their toll and caused her kidneys to fail. Doctors told her family to prepare for her death.
“I still have flashbacks to sitting at my dining room table with the head hospice nurse choosing a funeral home,” Patty told Global News. “[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.”
Six months later she would drive by that funeral home with a thriving Abby in her car.
Somehow within a few days, then weeks, then months Abby grew stronger and was able to walk again.
“We have no idea [how she got better] and there is no way to test it,” Abby Pediatric Hematologist and Oncologist Dr. Jacob Wessler said. “She’s the only patient I have to do this. She is one for one as far as our experience.”
Wessler says that once the hospital started backing off on her treatments and giving her less medicine she began to get better on her own.
“She told us, ‘I have so much living to do,’” Patty told PEOPLE. “We’ve stopped asking why she’s made this recovery and just started looking to her future.”
Abby is now in remission and takes steroids twice a day. She will enter the sixth grade when school starts again.
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