SoCal leukemia patient expecting twins finds perfect donor match

SAN PEDRO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Southern California woman battling cancer while pregnant with twins has found the perfect bone-marrow donor just weeks after her touching story went viral.

"For me to find one and for it to be 10 out of 10 at that is amazing. Nothing better in the world right now," Susie Rabaca said.

A record-breaking number of people signed up to be potential donors for Rabaca.

She is due to give birth by Dec. 6 and was in desperate need of a bone-marrow transplant to help treat her leukemia. Rabaca is already a mother of three. Her sister is a 50 percent match, but doctors said it wasn't good enough to treat her aggressive acute myeloid leukemia.

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

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

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

"Only 3 percent of our registry is mixed ethnicity and so it can be really difficult to find a matching donor. The fact that we have identified a potential match for her is really exciting," said Julie Kornike, with Be The Match.

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

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 and none were a match for Rabaca - until now.

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

The registry is particularly in need of people with mixed ethnic heritage for many other potential recipients without a match. Registry officials said the thousands of new donations were more ethnically diverse than average.

On Wednesday night after getting the delightful news, she and her family celebrated. While Rabaca hasn't met her donor yet, she had a message for him or her.

"Whoever you are out there - thank you so much. You're saving my life. You're an angel, and I hope one day to meet you," she said.

Rabaca now hopes to undergo the marrow transplant after delivering her twins. She also hopes to hit a goal of 100,000 people signing up on Be The Match before the twins' birth.
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