Inspiring 8-year-old loses her brave battle with rare form of disease
Abby Wujcik seldom encountered an obstacle she couldn’t overcome.
“Abby could not be told, ‘no,’” said her uncle, Brian Wujcik.
When the brain tumor from which she suffered prevented Abby from writing with her right hand, she learned how to use her left hand, her uncle recalled.
“She taught herself how to ride a bike,” said Wujcik, the head baseball coach at Richards High School in Oak Lawn. “She went to school whenever the chemotherapy would allow.”
Wujcik, 8, died Aug. 29 at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago 16 months after being diagnosed with high-grade astrocytoma, a brain tumor not typically found in children.
Abby made a lasting impression on her classmates at Kolmar Elementary School in Oak Lawn where she was a third grader.
“Abby was a wonderful little girl,” said David Creech, Kolmar principal. “She was strong and resilient.”
Abby was diagnosed shortly after a first-grade teacher noticed a change in her penmanship, her uncle said.
Abby lived a short but meaningful life, Wujcik said.
“Without even knowing it, she was touching lives,” he said.
That was never more evident than when Abby’s family, friends and community members formed Abby’s Army to raise funds to offset her medical bills.
The group’s major fundraiser was a carnival held in July 2012 at Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School. The group considered holding a fundraiser at a bar, but decided on a carnival at the middle school so Abby’s friends could be involved.
“It was absolutely amazing the way everyone came together for her,” said Wujcik, who credited the School District 123 community for making the event a success. “It was absolutely awe-inspiring.”
Neighbors also showed their support the night Abby died by tying pink and grey ribbons around trees in the community and gathering at the Wujcik’s home to offer comfort.
Wujcik said he’ll always remember his niece as a little girl who lived life to the fullest.
“She never lost her sense of humor,” he said. “She never lost her willingness to have fun.”
Abby met Justin Bieber, went to Disney World, swam with dolphins and a got a chance to tour Wrigley Field, he said.
He also credited Abby’s parents, Kevin and Kristyn, for maintaining their poise throughout Abby’s illness.
“They exhibited grace through all of this,” he said. “I think that was important.”
In addition to her parents, Abby is survived by siblings, Morgan and Ethan, as well her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Visitation was held Tuesday at Chapel Hill Garden South Funeral Home in Oak Lawn. Funeral services were held Wednesday at Zion Lutheran Church in Tinley Park.
Memorial contributions may be given in Abby’s memory to the Comer Children’s Hospital Child Life Department.