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Against all odds

Although short, Abby Bosarge's life made a lasting impact

Giving up wasn’t in Abby Bosarge’s character. 

The straight-A student, forward on the Pass Christian High soccer team and kicker/wide receiver on the Gulf Coast Monarchy football team represented persistence to her peers. After being diagnosed with leukemia in June of 2020, she intended to fight. 

“Abby’s initial response was shock — and then determination,” recalls her mother, Jerusha Bosarge. “She was emphatic that if anyone could beat this diagnosis, she could.” 

A warrior through and through, Abby had planned to attend Rollins College on a scholarship, go on to law school and have a career advocating for the underserved. In the meantime, she underwent rigorous treatment at Children’s of Mississippi and Texas Children’s Hospital. 

Despite participating in many clinical trials, defying medical predictions for months and exhausting all therapy options, Abby lost her cancer battle on Oct. 28, 2021. 

“She was wise far beyond her years and unfailingly kind,” Bosarge says. “She knew how to be a good friend. She was my best friend. I’m not the only person who claims this title. She was so incredibly important to so many people. She was a force.” 

The 18-year-old never got to play in a game with the Monarchy, but she made such an impression on the team that its upcoming season, set to kick off in April 2023, will be dedicated to her. 

“She was a bright light to this organization, the world and to me,” says Monarchy owner Tyre Brown. “Her purpose often reminds me to fight through adversity and to have an everlasting purpose with all human encounters.” 

So important was the Monarchy to Abby, recalls her mother, that her family came home early from vacation, driving nine hours from Gatlinburg, so she could try out. 

“Abby always has been intrigued by the idea of playing football, but I wouldn’t let her play on the boys’ team at her high school,” Bosarge says. “She was so excited when she heard about an all-women’s team!” 


Overcoming the shyness that kept her in her comfort zone as a child, Abby started blossoming both socially and athletically in middle school, according to her mom. She ran for class officer and won the presidency, all while maintaining straight As and participating in multiple sports, including soccer, track, cross country and swim. 

Abby also developed a keen interest in helping others. For several birthdays, she requested donations to charitable causes rather than gifts for herself. 

“On more than a few occasions, she found herself unable to help someone in need, so she brought the problem to a teacher, counselor or her family to help,” Bosarge says. “She permanently and dramatically altered quite a few lives this way. She was simply incapable of turning a blind eye to a person suffering.” 

Given Abby’s many gifts, Bosarge finds it impossible to narrow down what she misses most about the daughter she calls “a truly unique character” and “a walking contradiction.” 

“She was gentle and fierce, polite and strong-willed, insightful and childishly naive, vulnerable and strong, serious and hilarious, straightforward and sarcastic …, , ” Bosarge says. “She was utterly ‘extra’ in so many ways, yet you could always count on her to ‘make do’ or make the best of any possible situation.” 

Abby also was the most thoughtful gift-giver her mother has ever known, and the presents have kept coming even after her death. The latest, a flower arrangement that arrived on Bosarge’s birthday in September, contained a card that read, “Happy Birthday from heaven. Love, Abby.” 

“She was wise far beyond her years and unfailingly kind,” Bosarge says. “She knew how to be a good friend. She was my best friend. I’m not the only person who claims this title. She was so incredibly important to so many people. She was a force.” 



The phrase “against all odds” was engraved on Abby’s class ring, and she inspired many — including a group of supporters known as Abby’s Army — to be brave in the face of challenges. Far from living in fear, she spent her time on hospice “getting married” to her friend Kal Lizana, traveling to Disney World twice, attending a concert, seeing her little sister attend her first day of school and visiting and cooking for loved ones. 

Her influence and legacy extend well beyond her family and friends. On Jan. 18, the Mississippi Senate adjourned in her honor. A display at her alma mater, Pass Christian High School, contains her soccer jersey, her football helmet, some game balls and an essay she wrote titled “The Butterfly Effect,” in which she expressed her desire to use her gifts of compassion, kindness, empathy and love to make the world better. 

A scholarship created in her name is awarded to seniors at her high school who “live like Abby,” recognizing that small deeds can have a big impact. 

The Pass Christian girls’ soccer program retired Abby’s number, and the Monarchy has done likewise. Her football jersey, bearing the number 7, now resides at Buffalo Wild Wings in Gulfport, and Brown wants it eventually to be relocated to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. The team also plans to donate to the Leukemia Foundation and will hold a balloon-release event at the Monarchy’s last home game in memory of Abby. 

“She will always and forever be with us,” Brown says. “We uphold the value of family, and Abby will never be forgotten. Her purpose was to empower and inspire, and that’s what she did.” 



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