Leukemia Patient Pregnant With Twins Miraculously Finds Perfect Donor Match
“You’re saving my life,” Susie Rabaca wants to tell her mystery “angel.”
LOS ANGELES, CA — A pregnant woman expecting twins who is also suffering from leukemia experienced a pre-Christmas miracle when she, against all odds, found the ideal, potentially life-saving, bone-marrow donor.
Mother-of-three Susie Rabaca — due to welcome her new babies to the family by December 6 — said she started feeling sick and went to the doctor. She got the bad news she is suffering from aggressive acute myeloid leukemia.
Since the devastating diagnosis, she and relatives, who were not good matches, have been on a desperate search to find potential bone-marrow donors so she would have a fighting chance against the deadly disease.
As part of her efforts, Rabaca signed up with the registry Be The Match. Unfortunately, the fact she is both Latina and Caucasian made finding the right donor much more complicated since matches are based on both ancestry and DNA.
"Only 3 percent of our registry is mixed ethnicity, and so it can be really difficult to find a matching donor,” explained the organization's spokeswoman Julie Kornike.
To help get the word out, ABC7 recently aired a story on Rabaca, and a surprising 40,000 people, many ethnically diverse, did a simple swab test and registered with the company over the following days.
Though the odds were still stacked against her — the registry already had 30 million people worldwide signed up and none had previously matched with Rabaca — she suddenly got a hit.
"The fact that we have identified a potential match for her is really exciting," said Kornike of the good news.
"For me to find one, and for it to be 10 out of 10 at that is amazing,” said Rabaca. “Nothing better in the world right now.”
Rabaca is hoping to undergo the marrow transplant procedure soon after she gives birth to her twins. And though she doesn’t yet know the person who could help her beat leukemia and live to raise her family, she is more than grateful.
”Whoever you are out there, thank you so much,” she said. “You’re saving my life. You're an angel, and I hope one day to meet you.”
Read more: ABC7