Dear Abby

Eighteen-year-old Abby Bosarge is on TV. Channel 13, the news station out of Biloxi, WLOX. Your source for Gulf Coast updates, severe weather information, and Pat Sajak spinning the Wheel of Fortune at 6:30 P.M.

I turn it up.

Abby is looking right into the 6 o’clock news camera, smiling at heaven knows how many thousands of us in the viewing audience who are awaiting another nightly episode of Pat and Vanna.

I’ve never met Abby, but I find myself feeling nervous for her because, hey, it’s a big deal being on TV. Especially for a kid.

But Abby doesn’t look nervous, although God knows she has every right to be. Gazing deeply into a 50mm lens is brutal. For the unbaptized, staring at a TV camera is a lot like a possum staring at the high beams of a Peterbilt semi.

Abby wears a floral print dress. She is lean, with fair complexion. She wears a Gilligan hat to cover her recent hair loss. There is a bandage on an exposed area of her skin. She is beautiful. Blindingly beautiful.

I turn up the volume again because Abby talks quietly.

She tells the world about how her life went downhill recently. About how once she was a high-school athletic phenom, receiving offers from Division I schools. And about how recently the doctors told Abby she was dying.

Acute myeloid leukemia.

AML is an axe. This year about 20,240 people in the United States will be diagnosed with AML. It’s rare, but it’s wicked stuff. The five-year overall survival rate for AML patients is about 27 percent. Or you can think of it like this: only 27 percent of folks who hear the words: “You have myeloid leukemia” will live long enough to pay their doctor bills.

The treatments for such diseases are hell. If the cancer doesn’t kill you, the therapy will.

So the TV journalist is asking Abby about all this. And Abby’s doing great. She looks strong. She tells her story to those of us who are in our living rooms, all over the Gulf Coast. Abby talks about about her mortality. About the value of life. About hope.

And when she begins to weep before the camera, I cannot help but join her. So does the other TV viewer in my living room, a TV viewer I happen to be married to.

“Turn it up,” says my wife, confiscating the remote.

“I was so sick,” Abby says. “I couldn’t even drink or swallow…” Then she dabs her eyes.

And I’m imagining Abby’s audience right now. People like me, who have all stopped what we’re doing to stand before our glowing screens. Mothers in aprons staring at TVs. Old men reading newspapers who remove their specs, mesmerized by this child on Channel 13.

“Ablative therapy is just that,” Abby explains, “it ablates you. It destroys everything in you. It wipes out my entire bone marrow, my entire everything…

“They said they’ve never seen anyone recover from ablative therapy, there was no way that I was gonna be able to.”

Abby speaks about maintaining her school studies from a hospital bed:

“…To be forced to spend that time doing busywork, writing stuff for letter grades that won’t even matter once I’m gone…” More tears. “…It was hard.”

About her bucket list:

“…I wanted to bake for my grandparents and great-grandma. I wanted to see an Orlando Pride soccer game…”

She tells of things her school friends did in her absence:

“…They made a lifesize cardboard cutout of me and would bring it to every single school event…”

About missing out on her own graduation:

“[My friends] drove six or seven hours… and had a graduation ceremony here for just me…”

She speaks of small-town love, and its overwhelming power. And if there is a dry eye on the Gulf Coast it belongs to someone who ain’t living right.

The young woman on the screen swipes a palm over her wet face. “People think I should feel unlucky because of the cards I’ve been dealt. But I can’t help but feel like the luckiest person in the world. Because everyone has rallied around me.”

And I am standing before my television on an average May evening with the volume blaring. I am a middle-aged man who knows so little about life, and I’m listening to a kid who knows too much about it.

A girl whose doctors said she would die; a young woman who had the audacity to disagree with them, then followed it up with a miracle.

Abby leaves us with some wisdom she paid for earnestly:

“…They said I wouldn’t make it out of the hospital—and I did. They said I wouldn’t make it a week out of the hospital—and I did. I’m here now. Doctors study a lot for their work, but they aren’t gods. They can’t tell you when it’s your time to go.”

And then “Wheel of Fortune” comes on.


  1. Eileen - May 19, 2021 7:08 am

    When I see things like this, I surely understand there is a greater purpose. I often say to myself, it was not their day to die. Faith.

  2. Debbie g - May 19, 2021 9:42 am

    Abbys God has got this. And we are with her praying love to you. And Sean for sharing

  3. Jimmy Stewart - May 19, 2021 10:35 am

    Thanks Sean!!!
    Join Abby’s Army on Facebook. Here is the video link to the news story.

    • eliza - May 19, 2021 11:30 am

      done, thank you for sharing

  4. Bob Brenner - May 19, 2021 11:30 am

    Get well sweet child! May God keep blessing you. ❤️😇

  5. Mary Ann Ludwig - May 19, 2021 11:35 am

    Occasionally a special individual is selected by the Creator to remind us that miracles do happen.

  6. Donna - May 19, 2021 11:53 am

    Not sure where your inspiration comes from but you sure inspire a lot of people to be look at the good things in this world, when most people want to think the world is full of evil. Yes there is evil and then there you are to show us that if you just look…good always out weighs bad.

    Thank you for the smiles and laughter but also the tears.

  7. Jo Ann - May 19, 2021 12:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing Abby’s story, Sean. Hugs, prayers, & blessings to Abby, her friends, & her family.

  8. Lydia - May 19, 2021 12:28 pm


  9. Mary Fentress - May 19, 2021 12:35 pm


  10. Robyn - May 19, 2021 12:44 pm

    Thank you for hope Sean…i needed it today.

  11. Brenda - May 19, 2021 12:49 pm

    Another amazing story that’s uplifting and positive! I am so very thankful for Abby’s story and the wisdom she shared.

  12. Phil (Brown Marlin) - May 19, 2021 12:58 pm

    God bless Abby and all the others who bravely battle those terrible diseases and the devastating treatments. Some make it, many don’t. And thanks to her for telling her story to the world and to you, Sean, for helping spread the news, not so much of her illness, but of her attitude and tenacity, looking death straight in the eyes and saying, “Get out of my face!”
    Writing a check to St. Jude Children’s Hospital right now.

  13. Jan - May 19, 2021 1:03 pm

    May God bless you, Abby! And God bless you Sean for sharing Abby’s story!

  14. Shelton A. - May 19, 2021 1:18 pm

    Live a long time, Abby. Just to further confound the doctors. Thanks for sharing this, Sean.

  15. Jim Usery - May 19, 2021 1:41 pm

    I keep thinking you have hit the pinnacle of blog style writing and then you go and outdo yourself again. Thank you so much for making each day a little brighter after reading your stuff each morning.

  16. joan moore - May 19, 2021 1:51 pm

    Thank you for bringing this child to your readers who will respond. Many people will be changed by her life. We are praying for God’s healing for Abby.

  17. Cathy Moss - May 19, 2021 3:23 pm

    At a loss for words but will start with courage, bravery and the known fact to all believers that Gods plan trumps Drs. Predictions. I needed some medicine today and you had the right prescription. God bless Abby and may she inspire others to wear her badge of true courage and bravery. Sean, you continue to amaze me❤️🙏🏻

  18. Christina - May 19, 2021 4:29 pm

    Thank you Abby. May you bake lots of goodies for your grandparents and great-grandma. May you cheer for Orlando Pride’s every goal with joy!

  19. Celia Harbin - May 19, 2021 6:23 pm

    I am praying for Abby Bosarge. Courage is an awesome , amazing thing. This kind of courage encourages the rest of us. May The Lord bless you and give you everything you need as He goes through this with you.
    Thanks for the story, Sean.

  20. Sammy Ford - May 19, 2021 6:36 pm

    I am a survivor of Pancreatic Cancer twice! Fist it appeared as a tumor on the front of my pancreas, went thru chemo and radiation.
    Clear for five years, then a scan revealed a spot on my left lung, stage 4. The surgeon went in thru my ribs to remove part of that lung! Chemo again, heavier doses!
    I have been clear for 6 years now!
    Only by the Grace of God!
    I was told by several doctors that pancreatic cancer was a death sentence!
    On the first day I was diagnosed, I closed my eyes in my hospital room and told God, I was putting this in his hands, his will be done!
    I have been told that I was too cheerful through the whole ordeal, but I gave it to GOD and felt a burden lifted off of me!
    The Whipple operation in UAB, Birmingham, then the lung surgery five years later, I have never worried!

  21. Mary Bartholomew - May 19, 2021 6:38 pm

    We have been praying for Abby on the Coast since she was diagnosed. Every prayer is giving her strength to carry on and live her best life while she can. Thank you for sharing her story.

  22. Linda Moon - May 19, 2021 7:21 pm

    “Wheel of Fortune”. My parents watched it, and all these years later My Guy and I watch it, too…just after the local news. I’m so very, very sorry about Abby’s AML. I’m weeping now at the words “the doctors told Abby she was dying”. You see, I’m not young. Yet I haven’t died from battles with multiple cancers. That doesn’t seem fair, does it….that children die. My granddaughter, Abbie, will soon be a nurse. I’ll pass Abby’s words of wisdom to her, and I hope and believe she’ll remember them in her work with young patients. I love you, Abby. I’m rallying around you. My “Wheel” spun yesterday and today in the form of scans that will show results of fortune….or as I believe, Providence.

  23. Bill - May 19, 2021 7:36 pm

    And then we escape into Wheel of Fortune. I wish I had 1/1000 of the strength she does.

  24. Cheryl - May 19, 2021 7:42 pm

    Oh Sean…….Just Oh, Sean. Thank you for bringing Abby to us. God give her all the time she needs.

  25. Steve McCaleb - May 19, 2021 8:30 pm

    Well, you’ve done it again. You’ve got my eye holes leaking like a stoodup cheerleader in front of the gym on prom night. But it was a beautiful story about a beautiful person. People like Abby are the real heroes in our world today not some conceited athlete, or a politician that spends 3 million dollars running for a position that pays $80,000 a year ( you do the math). May God bless Abby and I’ll say a prayer for her. Might even slide one in for you Sean. Thank you my friend.

  26. MAM - May 19, 2021 9:34 pm

    I have faith that God will take me when He determines it’s time. I cannot control these things and I know it! Prayers that everyone comes to realize that! Only God holds the control.

  27. Carla Ramsey - May 21, 2021 7:24 pm

    Thank you !!! God is still in the miracle making business !!!


Leave a Comment