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