2016 Girl of the Year
This lively and vibrant 5th grader is Abby Strickland. A born performer who loves singing and dancing along to Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. Abby is a joy and inspiration to everyone she meets. She’s a star…and a fighter. Abby has Down Syndrome, and has had to manage everyday obstacles that most of us take for granted; she has undergone corrective heart surgery and two battles with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
The first time she was diagnosed with cancer was at age three. She endured chemotherapy for 26 months and then was cancer free for four years. Unfortunately, Abby relapsed in May 2013 – one week before her 9th birthday. Children with Down Syndrome have an increased risk of leukemia, and the treatment protocol the second time around was more intense. But with the support of her family and a positive attitude, Abby finished treatment last August and is back to loving life with her friends at Burk Elementary! When not dancing or cheerleading, Abby can be found playing with her friends, taking care of her pets, or swimming in the pool – she even holds a silver medal in the sport from the Special Olympics!