Record number of potential donors sign up to help SoCal leukemia patient expecting twins

ByLeanne Suter and staff KABC logo
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Thousands of potential marrow donors register to help SoCal mother
A record-breaking number of people signed up to be potential bone-marrow donors to help a SoCal leukemia patient who is about to give birth to twins.

A record-breaking number of people signed up to be potential bone-marrow donors following a story about a Southern California woman in need of a transplant who is about to give birth to twins.

Susie Rabaca, 36, is due to give birth by Dec. 6 and is in desperate need of a bone-marrow transplant to help treat her leukemia.

Within days of her story airing Nov. 22 on ABC7, almost 40,000 people registered for the Be The Match registry.

That was a record-breaking weekend for the registry, officials said.

More information about becoming a potential blood stem cell donor is available here from Be The Match.

Inspired by the success, the registry has set a new goal of having another 60,000 people sign up in Rabaca's name before she gives birth.

A bone marrow transplant can be a potentially life-saving procedure for those with leukemia. But for the process to work, the donor needs to be a close match. There are some 30 million people on the worldwide registry, but a match has not yet been found for Rabaca.

Rabaca is already a mother of three. Her sister is a 50 percent match, but doctors say it's not good enough to treat her aggressive acute myeloid leukemia.

Susie Rabaca, who has leukemia, is expecting twins and needs a bone-marrow transplant to save her life.

She needs a 100 percent match, but Rabaca's mixed heritage - Latino and Caucasian - has made finding a donor difficult.

Rabaca and her family have been on a mission to sign up as many potential donors as possible.

The registry is particularly in need of people with mixed ethnic heritage - not just to help Rabaca, but for many other potential recipients without a match.

Registry officials say the donations that came in over the weekend were more ethnically diverse than average, another good sign for Rabaca.

Once someone has signed up on the registry they will receive a testing kit in the mail. After obtaining a cheek swab sample and sending it in, lab processing can take up to two months.

Doctors hope they can find a match and give Rabaca a transplant as quickly as possible after she gives birth.

Rabaca has one hope this holiday season: "To find my perfect match. So that way I can be here for my kids. And my two on the way."