Whittier woman, 22, in desperate need of bone marrow transplant as she battles leukemia

WHITTIER, Calif. (KABC) -- Friends and family are remembering Susie Rabaca, the Southern California mother of five who passed away after battling leukemia.

Eyewitness News followed her struggle with cancer as well as her efforts to bring awareness to bone marrow donations.

Now, a 22-year-old from Whittier who just graduated from college is in need of a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

"She is fighting tooth and nail for just another chance, for just a chance at life...because none of us ever saw this coming," said her mother Maria Rodriguez.

The recent graduate from Syracuse University had just accepted a new job with her eyes set on a career in film production. All her plans were put on hold when she was diagnosed with leukemia.

"Little did I know that my body had been fighting cancer for this last year and just a month ago, I was officially diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia," she wrote in an Instagram post.

Alexis started treatment in Syracuse but was eventually able to travel back home to Southern California and is now receiving treatment at City of Hope. However, her family has not been allowed to visit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We've been devastated knowing she's been dealing with this by herself, without us by her side. It just tears us apart," said her father, Ricardo Miranda.

As Alexis fights for her life, a lot of people are pulling for her. Her cousin Daphne ran into actor Keanu Reeves who recorded a message of support for her.

The type of leukemia Alexis is fighting is rare, and while there are 19 million potential donors on the Be The Match bone marrow registry, none are a perfect match for her. Alexis' family is hoping that more people get tested and join the registry so a perfect match can be found.

"If somebody out there could find it in their heart to donate and if they were found to be a match, I would be indebted to them," said Rodriguez.

Signing up on Be The Match to be a bone marrow donor takes a few simple steps. Those interested can visit their website for more information.
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