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Bells for Abigail: A tribute to a courageous cancer fighter, Officer 758

Her story touched people around the world and started a movement.

It all began when Abigail Arias took an oath to serve, protect and encourage children like her to fight cancer.

Abigail was sworn in as an honorary officer. From that point on, she became a light of hope to other tiny cancer-fighters.

Abigail was in the middle of her own cancer battle during that time, but that didn’t stop her from making appearances and visiting children across the community.

Bells for Abigail: A tribute to a courageous cancer fighter, Officer 758

BELLS FOR ABIGAIL: KPRC2 Christine Noël is talking to Chief Raymond Garivey and Freeport Officer Abigail Arias's dad, Ruben about the sweet girl's legacy and how she is inspiring other tiny cancer fighters. #StayRelentless #AbigailStrong MORE: https://www.click2houston.com/community/2020/01/27/bells-for-abigail-a-tribute-to-a-courageous-cancer-fighter-officer-758/#/gallery

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Monday, January 27, 2020

Abigail’s cancer battle

Most people became aware of Abigail when she was sworn in as an honorary officer, but her journey started years before that.

She was 4 years old when she was diagnosed in 2017 with Wilms tumor, a rare kidney cancer that metastasized to her lungs.

“How do you explain to a 4-year-old that she has cancer, and you don’t know if she is going to live or die?” asked Ruben Arias, Abigail’s father.

Her parents decided to explain it to her like this: “This is a castle and it’s been taken over by the bad guys, and all these little spots are the bad guys.”

That set Abigail on a mission to fight the bad guys.

Abigail rings the bell

Abigail rang her bell in October 2017 when she was declared in remission.

"It was an amazing moment that will forever be ingrained in our minds and our hearts," said Ruben Arias.

Sadly, Abigail's cancer would return.

Abigail becomes Officer 758

It was Feb. 7, 2019, when the Freeport Police Department made Abigail an honorary officer. She was 6 years old.

Chief Raymond Garivey said it was an easy decision when he learned Abigail had dreams of becoming a police officer.

“I didn’t hesitate when I met her and when she told me that’s what she wanted,” Garivey said.

From that day forward, she was known as Officer 758.

“This young lady led by example," Garivey said. "The way she wore the uniform -- the boots had to be right, the badge had to be straight. She loved being a police officer.”

Abigail shines her light

The next nine months were a whirlwind. Abigail became a local celebrity and everyone wanted to meet her.

She often pushed through her pain to put smiles on the faces of others.

“There were times when she was not feeling good, and (her) dad would say, ‘Baby, we’ll cancel,’ and she would get mad at him," Garivey said. "(She would say), ‘I’m not canceling.’”

Abigail gains her heavenly wings

Officer 758 died on Nov. 5, 2019. She was 7 years old.

The loss could be felt across Freeport, across Brazoria County, and into the Houston area. The news spread throughout the country, and strangers grieved her passing.

“One of the things my wife and I ask is ... why her?" Ruben Arias said. "When our time comes, what a way to enter heaven, with her there waiting for us.”

Her father and the chief are convinced she is sporting some very special wings right now.

“She would probably want that 758 somewhere on those wings, so you knew that was Abigail Arias, Freeport police,” said Garivey said.

“I’m sure one would probably be blue, all blued out, to represent her blue family, thin blue line," Ruben Arias said. "I’m sure the other is colored in, in her methodical awesomeness way, with Texans and Astros, with JJ and Altuve on them. She’s just showing them off, proud as can be, just like she wore her uniform.”

Abigail’s legacy

Abigail may no longer be here in the physical sense, but her spirit lives on in our community.

Her family and Garivey believe she is up in heaven rooting for children with cancer to beat the disease.

Abigail’s reach continues

Brianna Altair Lopez is seen after ringing her cancer remission bell on Jan. 17, 2020.
Brianna Altair Lopez is seen after ringing her cancer remission bell on Jan. 17, 2020. (Family Photo)

KPRC 2 met one little girl that Abigail is almost certainly cheering for up above.

The same month Abigail went to heaven, 5-year-old Brianna Altair Lopez finished treatment. She had been fighting leukemia for two years.

“They diagnosed my daughter with cancer," said Lesly Romero, Brianna’s mother. “For me, in my country, and all over the world. That word is death.”

"When that news struck, it was like the whole world stopped," said Ashley Cruz, Brianna's sister.

On Jan. 17, Brianna rang her remission bell, signifying her second chance at life.

“She’s cured," said Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer, a pediatric oncologist at Texas Children’s Cancer Center. "She’s in remission, and she should stay that way,”

Dreyer made a connection that we’re sure has Abigail smiling in Heaven: “I think if Abigail were still with us, she would take Brianna under her wing and would have become very good friends.”

Bells for Abigail

KPRC 2 would like to honor Abigail’s memory by featuring children who have beaten cancer. After your child rings the remission bell, please send us the video. We may use it as part of our new series called “Bells for Abigail.”