10/14/12 — Teen's wish for ring, health come true

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Teen's wish for ring, health come true

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 14, 2012 1:50 AM

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Abigail Keen, 16, and mother Deon, right, look at a bracelet by jewelry designer David Yarman, during a Make-A-Wish presentation.

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Abby Keen models her new ring.

Nearly two years ago, Abigail Keen was a Southern Wayne High School student whose life "changed in a second" when she was diagnosed with a rare liver disease and placed on a transplant list.

Now 16, she had the transplant in March of his year and is "doing fabulous," says her mom, Deon Keen, a nurse at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

The prognosis is good for the once active dancer, cheerleader and softball player.

"She's still on some no-contact sports but they did approve her to start back into dance," Mrs. Keen said. "Hopefully, by the spring she might be able to return to softball."

Early on in the process Make-A-Wish became aware of the medical situation and got involved.

"The doctors are the ones who do the wish referrals for catastrophic illness or kids who are terminal," she said. "Abigail's illness was considered catastrophic."

At the outset, she said her daughter was reluctant to accept the offer from Make-A-Wish.

"She had a little difficult time with making a wish because early on she thought that meant she was dying," she said. "She asked if she could give her wish away. Doctors convinced her to revisit the idea after she had the transplant."

Instead of the typical shopping spree or trip, though, someone recommended Abigail consider something tangible, prompting her to come up with the idea of jewelry. Specifically, she mentioned a ring from designer David Yurman.

"They asked her to give two choices just in case it was not available," Mrs. Keen said. "She wanted something she could keep forever."

The popular designer was moved upon hearing that a 16-year-old girl would want a piece of his jewelry, Mrs. Keen said, and also designed a special Make-A-Wish bracelet for her.

The Keens were notified earlier last week that officials from Make-A-Wish planned to present Abby with the items at her home in Goldsboro.

Afterward, she added, "Team Abby," friends, family and others who have supported them throughout the ordeal, also showed up for a celebration.