Virginia family encourages pediatric organ donation, regular tests for diabetes

A family from Alexandria, Virginia, is facing their first Christmas without their 12-year-old daughter, who they called an old soul with an infectious personality.

Beth and John Bachmore and their three sons — Jack, Sam and Ben — are mourning the loss of the family’s youngest child, Abigail Catherine Bachmore. She was known, of course, as Abbie. She died early this year of acute-onset diabetic ketoacidosis.

Her family is honoring her memory by encouraging pediatric organ donation and blood sugar tests for children and adults, and by creating a foundation using money from a GoFundMe account.

Beth and John Bachmore and their three sons — Jack, Sam and Ben — are mourning the loss of the family’s youngest child, Abigail Catherine Bachmore. (Courtesy Bachmore family)

Signs of Type 1 diabetes are sometimes noticed during the preteen years. Abbie was almost 12-and-a-half years old, and unbeknown to her and her family, she had been developing Type 1 diabetes for months. Diabetes didn’t run in the family, and no one knows how she came to develop it.

In early February, Abbie wasn’t feeling well, so her mother took her to the hospital.

“She was fine when I left for work in the morning,” Beth Bachmore told WTOP. “I came home and brought her to the hospital and didn’t come home with her.”

By then, the undiagnosed diabetes had done too much damage. Abbie was kept alive, so her organs were viable if her parents agreed to donate them. When organ donation professionals asked, Beth and John Bachmore quickly said yes.

“It gives me and John peace knowing that she’s helping other people still live their lives here,” Beth Bachmore said.

She wants children to have regular blood sugar tests, so their doctors will be able to see if they are developing diabetes. “Why not just get the little machine out and boop, poke it and then put it in the machine and then check blood sugar real quick?”

She also wants parents whose child has died to consider donating their child’s organs, so others can live.

“If there’s any bright spot, it’s the fact that (Abbie) could help people,” Beth Bachmore said.

Abbie lives on through the four people who got her organs, including a father in his 30s who received one of Abbie’s kidneys; a woman in her 20s who was very ill and got Abbie’s other kidney; a woman in her 60s who received both of Abbie’s lungs; and a teenage boy who received Abbie’s liver.

You can learn more about Abbie Bachmore and the foundation that honors her on its webpage. You can also read Beth Bachmore’s tribute to her daughter online.

Lastly, learn more about organ donation — and sign up to be a donor — on the National Donate Life Registry’s website.

Chris Cruise

Christopher Cruise is a writer, reporter and anchor at WTOP. He has worked at The Voice of America, where he anchored newscasts for the Learning English branch. He is a backup host for Westwood’s morning radio news programs, “America in the Morning” and “First Light,” and contributes to them weekly.

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