VIRGINIA BEACH — A couple of weeks ago, Abby Furco’s mom, Patty Furco, asked did she want to go to the beach?
Abby, 9, shook her head no. But what if they could get her there comfortably? Yes, Abby said. She wanted to see the moon.
Abby Furco has been sick since 2011, when she was four and her family, at first, thought she had the flu. She was diagnosed with a tough-to-treat form of leukemia.
For about two and a half years, there was chemo and other treatments. She was off treatment for 11 months until September 2014.
Treatment resumed. She underwent a bone marrow transplant in early 2015 in Chicago, close to her parents’ family. There was more treatment, but she was cancer free. Then there was another challenge, acute graft versus host disease.
The family has fought all of this in different places over the years. They are a Navy family. This is their second time here in the Hampton Roads area.
They are Joe and Patty Furco, Abby and two other daughters, 12-year-old Maggie and 5-year-old Emily.
There is no more treatment for Abby. The Furcos brought their daughter home so she could be surrounded by love.
“They gave her 48 hours,” Patty Furco said on Friday, July 29. “Here we are two weeks later.”
She had restarted school in the local area this past year, and she would be starting fifth grade in the fall.
The Furcos will keep fighting for kids like Abby in her honor so they have resources to fight for themselves.
“Abby always just fought mentally and physically, and she always wanted to be a kid,” Patty Furco said.
The Furcos attend St. Michael Lutheran Church, but they have a connection to Sandbridge Community Chapel United Methodist Church, too.
A girl in their neighborhood – Abby’s age – asked for prayers there, Patty Furco said. Bryan Harrell, director of music ministries, asked why when the girl kept seeking them.
He called. Can I visit? He visited, and he brought music, too.
“That’s how we got to know Bryan,” Abby’s mom said.
Getting Abby comfortably to the beach at Sandbridge meant using a van from St. Michael that could accommodate a wheelchair and several passengers.
A heart was drawn on one window. Abby’s name was in the heart. The Rev. Stephen Bohannon, pastor at St. Michael, brought the van.
Due to weather, they went on Wednesday, July 20, the night after the full moon. There was family, friends and more with them.
People from Sandbridge made sure they could get into Little Island Park and onto the fishing pier, though it was late.
Harrell and others were there, too. People from the Sandbridge church sang “This Little Light of Mine” for Abby.
According to her mom, Abby said, “This is perfect.”
Abby noted the color of the moon and how it looked on the water, like a path.
They were there a short while.
“Enough to be eaten alive by the bugs,” Patty Furco said recently.
While she spoke with a visitor, Abby Furco was on the couch, her “office.” She was watching Food Network. She loves Food Network, loves to cook. Guy Fieri was on, but her favorite show is Chopped.
Some of the chefs from Chopped even recorded a special message for Abby.
Abby Furco said it was good to be at the beach again.
“Just being outside,” she said.
And it was good to see the moon.
“It was pretty much full,” she said, “with an orange tinge to it.”
© 2016 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC