HOUSTON – Nov. 5 marks one year since our community lost Abigail Arias, a young cancer fighter who inspired people across the world.
The honorary Freeport police officer captured hearts with her infectious smile and encouraged other children with cancer to relentlessly fight.
Her journey as an ambassador for children started with an emotional ceremony in February 2019.
Freeport police Chief Ray Garivey swore in Abigail, who was battling Wilms tumor -- a form of kidney cancer. That was the moment she became Officer 758.
From that point on, she began spreading her light and strength to everyone she met.
“That’s all she ever wanted to do ... was to love people,” said Garivey said.
It was an incredible 9-month mission before heaven gained a special angel on Nov. 5th.
“Even though her life was cut short here on earth, we are thankful and we’re blessed that it was during this time she was able to make a difference,” said Ruben Arias, Abigail’s father.
Her legacy lives on in the halls of children’s hospitals, where brave kids are ringing the end-of-treatment bell and sharing the video in Abigail’s honor.
It’s a tribute on KPRC 2 that we call “Bells for Abigail.” We have received videos from all around the country.
“When I saw all of that, I was like, I want to share his video, said Brittany Ossege. "I love getting his story out there.”
Ossege lives in Cincinnati, and when she learned about our “Bells for Abigail” series, she sent a video of her son ringing the end-of-treatment bell.
Elijah battled Wilms tumor, just like Abigail.
“It was good,” said Elijah describing the day he rang the bell.
“It was the greatest day of my life,” said Ossege.
A year later, Abigail’s story continues to unfold throughout the community.
She is the star character in a new children’s book, created by a mother-son duo. The book is called “Abigail, the Brave Little Llama,” which is the latest installment in a series called “Grant, the Jigsaw Giraffe and Friends.”
“The topic is childhood cancer and she explains to Grant what she is going through,” explained Julie Coy, the author.
Coy’s son, Grant, brought the pages to life.
“Every illustration in every book, I did each of them,” said Grant Maniér.
Grant has autism, and he is the inspiration behind the book series that tackles topics like autism, dyslexia and childhood cancer.
“Grant helped me finish that ending because llama Abigail does live on,” said Coy.
A special book signing event will be held in Abigail’s honor on Nov. 14. It will be held at the Freeport Police Department. Julie Coy and Grant Maniér will be there, along with Abigail’s family and Chief Garivey.