Leukemia-stricken woman pregnant with twins is hoping for a donor to save her life

Junie Sihlangu
Nov 27, 2018
05:31 P.M.
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A woman from Southern California found out that she has leukemia. She’s currently pregnant with twins that she’s expecting in two weeks.

To beat cancer she desperately needs a bone marrow donation before December 6, when the babies are due. She was diagnosed earlier in her pregnancy.

Susie Rabaca, 36, began to feel sick just a few months into carrying her twins. She’s already a mother to three other children.

When she went to the doctor she found out that she had developed an aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia. This is cancer that starts in the bone marrow and often moves to the blood.

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For more on this story go to our Twitter account @amomama_usa. Doctors told her that in order to save her life she would need the “perfect” bone-marrow transplant match.

San Pedro native’s sister offered to undergo the procedure but she was informed that she was only a 50 percent match. Doctors explained that half a percent wasn’t good enough.

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They told Rabaca that the severity of cancer required someone with a 100 percent match. The mother of three’s half-Latino and half-Caucasian heritage also made it difficult for her to find a match.

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Be the Match representative Julie Korinke explained:

“In order for a blood stem cell transplant to work, you need to find a match who has similar DNA and ancestry to you. Even with 30 million people on the worldwide registry, Susie does not have one match on that registry.”

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Korinke continued:

“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.”

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Rabaca has turned to rely on her family and children for emotional support. She said:

“My 4-year-old, she just holds my hand, grabs my bald head, she just yeah, she’s my Little Rock.”

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In order to find a donor, she’s reached out to people on social media in the hopes that someone will save her life. Rabaca has also taken to sharing the link to her Be The Match donor page on her Facebook.

Anyone who believes that they could be a good fit for Rabaca’s transplant can go to the Be The Match site and create a profile for free.

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