The Story Behind the Painting, "Abby"
The letter I sent to Abby:
I want you to know I’ve been thinking and praying for you every day!
A few months ago, I was making pastel paintings for my latest painting collection called “Wild Places”. I usually name my paintings with a human name. I love naming things and learning the meaning of names. Sometimes it takes me days to name a painting. I feel like it has to fit perfectly. I will spend hours searching name meanings to find the perfect one. And then sometimes, the name just comes to me. I look at the painting and think, “That’s a Sarah.”
Recently, I finished a painting and looked at it, and my mind thought, that’s an “Abby”. I immediately thought of you. It’s full of bright, bold colors. It's beautiful and gives me hope when I look it it. It’s a painting of a field in the fall. It just rained the day before, but now the sun is coming out with the dawn. The earth is still a little wet, but the sun is lightening everything and is about to dry it all.
When I looked up the meaning of Abby, some of the meanings were "sweet refuge", “the Father’s Joy”. It was perfectly fitting. So the picture on the front of this card is the painting called “Abby”. And I want you to have the original. It’s a 4”x5” pastel painting (very small). I know you are in between places right now, so I will send it to you whenever you want it. Just text me and let me know, and I will mail it to you! I can hold on to it however long you need.
Also, I’m in the process of making prints of my “wild places” collection. I’ll be releasing the prints within the next month or so. I’d like to donate the profits from the “Abby” prints to whatever you choose. It can be to help your family, it can be to a charity, it can be to another family. It can be for baking supplies. Whatever you want. Just let me know.
Your strength, perseverance, and light inspire me. You are continually in my prayers.
Hey Mrs Karli! This is Abby. I LOVE the painting you sent, and I'm so honored to have it be in my name. I'm also super thankful about the proceeds and have decided that I want them to go to the humane society of south Mississippi in Gulfport. During this hard time, one of my greatest joys has been my dog, Stan. They gave me my best friend and for that I'm so grateful. In other dark times, it was working there that kept me positive and kept me going strong through adversity and helped me become fulfilled through service. They do amazing things there and I'd love for the money to go to them. Thank you so much for this opportunity for me to give money to something I care about. Stan and I thank you. <3
Here's a photo of Stan for reference :D
Years ago, when I was a high school art and religion teacher, I taught this girl named Abby.
Abby was a perfect student. She did well in everything she did and she challenged me as a teacher, often keeping me on my toes with her very good questions.
She is one of 5 children in a very loving family. She’s a straight A student, an important member of her high school soccer team, and the youngest kicker/wide receiver on the Gulf Coast Monarchy professional women's football team. She’s the team player everyone thinks about when it comes to never giving up. Ever.
Abby has a kind and authentic character and a generous spirit. She has so many wonderful friends because she knows how to be a good friend. She loves animals, especially dogs, and volunteers at her local Humane Society.
She did the announcements every morning for her high school and she would love to be a journalist or the “good kind” of lawyer or politician. Her speaking voice and stage presence are captivating.
In the summer of 2020, before beginning her senior year and shortly after scoring a 32 on her ACT, she tested positive for Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
We’ve been following Abby’s story with love, support, and prayers on a Facebook group called “Abby’s Army”. With over 8,000 warriors, we have been a part of countless fundraisers, prayer chains, and worship services for Abby’s healing. At one point, there was a fundraiser at Dominoes and they literally had to stop taking orders because they were overwhelmed with people trying to support Abby.
She’s had personal video messages from Robin Roberts, Mia Hamm, and several of the actors from The Office.
Thousands of people have donated blood and signed up with www.bethematch.org to hopefully be a bone marrow match for Abby.
To give you even more of a glimpse into the type of person Abby is, here’s a story her mom shared in Abby’s Army… “Abby was supposed to participate in the biggest scholarship that Rollins College offers. She was so proud and excited to be included in this opportunity and has been preparing for a month to do her best. She was devastated last night when she realized she was sick [from an infection while doing treatment]. She literally emailed her admissions counselor on the way to the emergency room to let her know that she wouldn’t be able to dress appropriately & that a parent or nurse would probably have to be in the room during the interviews (which isn’t allowed. The students are supposed to be alone.) SHE WAS STILL GOING TO INTERVIEW FROM THE HOSPITAL WITH NO SLEEP AND A HIGH FEVER! This girl has GRIT!! Luckily, they have offered to reschedule her interviews for next week.”
For over a year, Abby took a very difficult journey. She went to different hospitals and has been through so many types of treatments that I've lost count.
Unfortunately, Abby passed away on October 28, 2021. She is one of the toughest people I've ever met. She fought to the end. The world is a brighter place because she was in it.