9th October 1996
Abbi Chloe Elizabeth Banks
Abbi was a thoughtful individual, bubbly and funny. She had a beautiful smile, which made others around her smile too. Abbi made a difference in people’s lives every day. She expressed herself through art, training at Derby University, to be an art therapist. She wanted to work with children who were, or had been, sick. Abbi was a committed Christian and loved helping in the children’s groups in church on Sunday mornings and in their holiday clubs. She went a couple of times to Hungary, to help run an annual summer club. She was grateful to the various charities, who supported her and her family, during and after her illness. Despite the long term effects of her treatment, Abbi raised money for many of them, and even returned, for several years, to Over The Wall camps as a volunteer with younger children and young people who like her, were experiencing serious illness.
Abbi loved music and wasn’t afraid to dance or sing along to the songs she knew well. She loved playing board games and was fiercely competitive. She spent hours looking on Pinterest, for inspiration for her dreams and various projects, watching funny clips on YouTube or looking up songs from films she liked to watch. Her favourite movies were action adventure or romantic comedies. Abbi was a loyal and caring friend who regularly checked in to offer her support. She was hard working and overcame many serious difficulties, through her strong resilience and determination. She joined her ‘forever family’ when she was 7 years old, after a traumatic start to life and having been in a foster home for a couple of years. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when she was 12 and had chemotherapy and full body radiotherapy, then a bone marrow transplant on her 13th birthday. Her brother was her donor and he was only 8 years old. It was hard for Abbi to reconnect with school friends and she felt isolated and different. Going to university was a huge achievement for Abbi and she was thriving on the independent life she was enjoying there, when her world fell apart. She was diagnosed with a relapse of the Leukaemia, 7 years after her original diagnosis. This time she had a stem cell transplant from an anonymous donor from Germany, who she hoped to meet one day and thank in person. Sadly she was not able to survive the harsh treatment that was needed to remove the cancer from her blood. Her kidneys failed and her immune system, heart and lungs suffered until she couldn’t fight any more. So in January, after seeing angels around her hospital bed, she decided she wanted to go home to be with Jesus in heaven. By this time, flu she’d contracted had become pneumonia, which turned to sepsis and her time had come to leave her body here with us. We believe she now has a new body and all of her emotional trauma and physical suffering are fully behind her.
Abbi will always be remembered as a generous, kind and loving person, full of passion for the things she believed in and for fighting for change concerning what she believed to be unjust. Like many of the other young people we’ve met as we journeyed with her through her cancer treatments, she was an inspiration to all who met her and to those who hear her story.