SoCal mom who died after battle with leukemia remembered for her fighting spirit

Friends and family are remembering Susie Rabaca, the San Pedro mother of five whose public battle with leukemia touched thousands of lives.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Friends and family are remembering Susie Rabaca, the San Pedro mother of five who died Wednesday after battling leukemia.

Rabaca survived her battle long enough to give birth to healthy twins, and she touched thousands of lives with her story.

Those who knew Susie say she fought until the end.

"She fought with everything that she had," said family friend Markie Maneval. "She gave it her all until there was literally nothing left."

Eyewitness News first interviewed Rabaca in 2018. She was eight months pregnant with twins.

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She had been diagnosed with aggressive acute myeloid leukemia and needed to find a bone-marrow donor to save her life. But her mixed heritage - Latino and Caucasian - made it difficult to find a match through Be The Match.

Rabaca and her family set out on a mission to find as many donors as possible.

People around the world signed up, and a donor was found. After giving birth to healthy twins - Ryan and Rainey - the cancer came back.

"It just didn't work. It failed after 100 days and ever since then she just kept declining," said Yvette Bielma, Susie's mother.

Her mother says Rabaca came home from the hospital on Monday. She died surrounded by family and friends.

She leaves behind five children.

Her twins are now 18 months old. Her oldest child is 15.

"Everything that she did from day one was for her kids," Bielma said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for Rabaca's memorial and for her children's future education.

Her mother says her daughter's story touched so many and helped save lives.

"She inspired over 100,000 people to join Be The Match," Bielma said. "So many people found donors because of her."
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