Pregnant Woman Fighting Leukemia Finds a Perfect Bone Marrow Match After Making Desperate Plea
Susie Rabaca, a mom of three, made the plea earlier this week, causing more than 50,000 people to sign up for the Be the Match registry.
Susie Rabaca, the pregnant woman battling leukemia who made a desperate plea for a bone marrow donor, has finally found her perfect match.
Rabaca, 36, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia just a few months into carrying her twins and required a bone marrow transplant in order to survive.
With no match to be found on the registry and just days until she is expected to give birth, the mother did everything she could to try to find a person who could save her life.
Her plight struck a chord with thousands who either shared her story or went and got tested to see if they were a match and, she revealed to NBC Nightly News on Wednesday, that perfect person with just the right genetic makeup has been found.
"Oh my god, to me it’s beyond amazing… joy and happiness, it really is,” she told NBC News. “It’s so exciting, it’s the best Christmas gift.”
While more testing is needed before doctors can do the procedure, Rabaca can now focus on her twins’ impending arrival and hopes to undergo the transplant after their birth.
Rabaca’s desperate search began just a few weeks ago. Because of the severity of her cancer — which starts in the bone marrow and often moves to the blood, according to the American Cancer Society — she needed someone with a 100 percent match. The person needed to be, like the expectant mom, half-Latino and half-Caucasian.
Despite 30 million people registered on the worldwide registry, the Southern California local did not have a single match with similar DNA or ancestry.
With the help of her 4-year-old daughter, Riley, and even country superstar, Carrie Underwood — who retweeted her story — more than 50,000 people heard Rabaca’s plea and signed up on the “Be The Match” registry over the past seven days, reports NBC News. According to the outlet, it was a record-breaking weekend.
Just a few months into carrying her two babies, Rabaca began to feel ill and took a trip to the doctor where she was diagnosed with the aggressive cancer and was told she needed a bone-marrow transplant, reported ABC 7 earlier in November.
Her sister instantly offered to undergo the procedure but was disappointed to learn she was only a 50 percent match, which doctors and experts explained wasn’t good enough, according to ABC.
“In order for a blood stem cell transplant to work, you need to find a match who has similar DNA and ancestry to you,” Be the Match representative Julie Korinke told the outlet. “Even with 30 million people on the worldwide registry, Susie does not have one match on that registry.”
“Because matching is based on ancestry and DNA, it’s really important that our registry is just as diverse as our population and right now that isn’t the case,” she added.
The mother of three eventually turned to social media in hopes that someone would see her plea and save her life.
“Finding my match is everything to me so I can be here for the three children I have, and the two that I have on the way, it’s everything,” she told Fox 11. “It’s so easy, there’s no painful procedure, there’s no surgery, it’s just swab your mouth and it’s as simple as a blood draw, and you can save somebody’s life, if not mine, somebody else’s.”