Update: 40,000 potential donors sign up to help California leukemia patient expecting twins

ByLeanne Suter and ABC7.com 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.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA -- A record-breaking number of people have signed up to be potential bone marrow donors after hearing a story about a California woman who is about to give birth to twins and who is in need of a transplant.

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

Within days of her story airing November 22, 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.

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

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

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

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


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