|Abby at age 5 (http://www.abbysrun.com/index.htm)|
Abigail Glaser was five years old the year I knew her. Only five years old.
On July 31, 2001, Abby passed away shortly after being rushed to the hospital for sudden severe flu-like symptoms. Other than the short sickness than she had before death, there were no signs to signal anyone to what was so horribly wrong.
Abby died of Viral Myocarditis, an infection that attacks the heart. her heart stopped working. Viral Myocarditis is a rare disease, but the mortality rate is alarmingly high. It occurs mostly in children and teens.
Her parents were heart-broken; she was only five with such a short time to get to know the world, though I know she had so many friends. She would have been starting kindergarten the following year.
Of course, one can only imagine the pain of losing your child, and I witnessed first-hand how broken her parents were for a long time, but they wanted to help. They didn't want one more child to die from this horrible disease, or one more family to be heart-broken, so they did their research.
Through their investigations, they found Dr. Jeffrey Towbin at Baylor University, a children's doctor working for prevention and a cure for viral myocarditis. They started the Abby Glaser Children's Heart Fund where donations are used for research of viral myocarditis and other causes of sudden cardiac death in children.
In 2003, they started Abby's Run for the Heart, a 5k run/walk in which the procedes benefit their cause. The run takes place anually in Kansas City in October. The turn out and money raised from the run has been growing steadily each year. Over $500,000 dollars have been raised so far!
I only knew Abby for a very short time, though our mothers had been great friends since long before we were born. I was a little over a year older than her. I met Abby a number of times, though I don't remember very well. We were slightly shy, and were never best friends, though I wish now with all my heart that I could have gotten to know her better. I pray for her now and wonder what she would have looked like now, what her intrests would have been, maybe we would have been friends. I know that I am among so many others when I wish that God could have let her stay long enough for us to answer these questions, but we all have a purpose in this world, and I believe that Abby's was to raise awareness for her disease through her death.
In Abby's five short years here, I know she had so many friends, she loved a lot, shared so much of herself with others, and I just know that she smiled every day because that's the kind of person she was. Because of Abby, I know that someday a cure will come for viral myocarditis and other diseases like it, and her short exsitance will benefit children all over the world.
Abby's Run for the Heart
- Abby's Run.com informs on the anual 5k run to raise money for research of children's heart conditions
Special thanks and prayers to the Glaser family.