Green Mile Dedicated to Frohnapfel
By KYLE LUTZ
WHEELING — Every year, the Debbie Green Mile run kicks off the annual event and is dedicated to a special person or group of people that have touched many lives in the Ohio Valley. This year, the opening race will be dedicated to Abby Frohnapfel.
“I think what Ron (Green) does for childhood cancer is amazing,” Abbey’s mother, Brenda Frohnapfel, said. “I think the fact he thought to honor my daughter is a wonderful thing to have your child remembered. I think it’s awesome.”
Frohnapfel was not just your typical high school student. Frohnapfel always had a smile on her face and lit up the room everywhere she went. Tragically, Frohnapfel was diagnosed with Accute Myloid Leukemia on May 20, 2015. She had a short, hard-fought battle with the disease and passed away on August 6, 2015.
“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” Brenda Frohnapfel said. “And when they tell you your child has cancer, you never think your child is going to be taken from you that quickly.”
Abby was active as a student at John Marshall. She played basketball, was involved in 4-H and the Marshall County Livestock Club. Abby was also as bright as the room she lit when she walked into it. Right after she was diagnosed, she found out she was accepted into the Advanced Academy at West Liberty University. She would have been able to skip her last two years of high school and start taking college courses.
“She was a very smart girl,” Brenda Frohnapfel said. “She wanted to be a high school history teacher. She was very intelligent. Her friends rallied around her and they still do. It’s just amazing to see what that group of kids do. Just to see what that group of kids have done for my daughter and to keep her memory alive is truly amazing that a group of high school kids to that.”
One of her closet friends, Brandi Powell started ‘Abby’s Army’ a couple days after she was diagnosed. In order to help support her family, the school sold T-shirts with ‘Abby’s Army’ on them and the proceeds went to the Frohnapfel family. A blood drive was also organized and it had a big response.
“I believe there was 75 people and that’s a lot of people to have at a blood drive,” Brenda Frohnapfel said. “And the staff volunteered to stay over the day they had it. And they still weren’t able to take everybody. They had to make other appointments. It was just that big of a response. Her high school, I mean they just did so many activities to support her.”
And just when you thought John Marshall could do everything it could, it managed to do another gesture in honor of Abby, who has touched so many lives.
Abby was to graduate high school this year and at commencement ceremony, they had a moment of silence, along with a cap, gown and a bouquet of roses on the chair she was assigned.
“They’ve just done a lot,” Brenda Frohnapfel said. “It’s amazing what they’ve done.”
It’s also amazing what Brenda has done. She and her friend started a group named Marshall County Childhood Cancer Awareness. Them and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, teamed up and have raised more than $25,000 that is going to a study about AML. Scientists have been contacting Brenda as well and been telling her that the money she has raised is going to 12 kids that will receive treatment.
“The awareness group that my friend and I started, we lost my daughter in August and in October of that year, we held a walk and we raised a lot of money,” Brenda Frohnapfel said. “My daughter was treated at Childrens Hospital in Pittsburgh and we took all the proceeds to that walk and took it up to Childrens Hospital. That just started the whole thing.
“But even the support. I’ve been continuing to keep in touch with some of the doctors and nurses that took care of my daughter. It’s amazing. … My daughter was 15 years old, the people that she touched in that short amount of time is truly amazing.”