Services will be take place tomorrow morning at 10:30 at the Webb-Freer Funeral Home in Blue Springs, Missouri, for Frankie Abernathy, the housemate from The Real World: San Diego who died Saturday at 25.
Frankie was the pierced, tattooed, Hello Kitty-loving, boat-fearing emotional cutter who happened to have cystic fibrosis. She’s thought to be the second Real World castmember to die, joinig Pedro Zamora, who died of AIDS in 1994.
“It was a very quick thing,” her mother says. “She was fine Friday, and I went down to see what she wanted for dinner. She was taking a nap, I thought. And she was dead.
“I don’t think she had any regrets. She had a lot more stories at 25 than I have at 47. She lived pretty good. She had a lot to cram in.”
Meanwhile, some of Frankie’s San Diego housemates have reacted to the news:Jacquese Smith: “She opened my eyes to a lot of things that I’d never even thought about before. Like cystic fibrosis– you always hear about it, but don’t know what it is. Frankie took me to my first punk-rock show. I had my first mosh-pit experience with Frankie. She would do any and everything if you asked her to. She was never scared to go anywhere with me. She was willing to learn from me. We had totally different life experiences, and we still got so close. If I learned anything from anyone on that show, I learned the most from Frankie. And I now have a greater appreciation for my life and my castmates.
“I’ve been beating myself up over this, because I hadn’t spoken with her in so long. We haven’t really talked to one another in so long, so it’s kind of like we lost her and now we’re re-establishing our friendships and appreciating what we have with one another and taking full advantage of it. We’re kind of doing what she would want us to do. It’s just sad that this was the reason why we’ve gotten back in touch. At the end of the day, I know she knows I loved her.”
Jamie Chung: “She came off as too cool for school, but really, she kind of played off this attitude that she didn’t care about any of us, but she was the most caring person in the house. She was the most outgoing. She stood out, and she loved that, and she didn’t care what anyone thought. And I thought that was so cool. She just didn’t give a fuck what people thought about her. She just did what she wanted to do, and she did what was fun and always wanted to go try different things. I don’t think they showed that much. They showed all of the house drama and her personal issues. But she was a really fun person.
“She loved her family, and the one person that I am sure is just devastated is her little sister, Mamie. She idolized Frankie and was so proud of her. It’s just crazy. She was sort of like Sid Vicious– she just lived every day to the fullest, because she knew she had to. That was her motto. She lived every day as if it were her last.
“I’m thinking about her a lot. It’s really sad, and it’s really weird. It just came out of nowhere. I feel like a bad friend. The one person I should have kept in touch with, I didn’t.”
Cameran Eubanks: “The way Frankie dealt with her disease, it was always something where she was prepared. She was never the kind of girl who was scared of the fact that she knew she was going to die early. She knew it. She told us. She said, ‘You guys can look ahead to the rest of your lives, but I can’t. I have to have my fun, I have to be young, and I have to live every day as if it’s my last.’ She had that kind of mentality. It was never like, ‘Poor me, I’m going to die.’ She was never that kind of girl. And I think that’s what’s made it easier for me to handle, I guess.
“Your average person, when they would meet Frankie, they would totally write her off as some crazed, in-your-face, ridiculous girl who has this disease and doesn’t take care of herself. That’s how I felt when I first met her. Then I got to know her, and realized that was all a show, and that’s how she coped with it. I want everyone to know what a good person she was, what a rare person she was. She loved life, and we’ll all miss her.”
A scholarship fund has been established in Frankie’s name at Blue Springs High School.
Fans can contribute donations to
The Frankie Abernathy Scholarship Fund
c/o Jackie Langston
1205 NW Roanoke Drive
Blue Springs, MO 64015