A mother with leukemia who is due to give birth to twins this December is hoping for a bone marrow donor match. She received the devastating diagnosis early on in her pregnancy.
Susie Rabaca is a mother of three due to give birth to twins this December, and she is also fighting for her life. She found out that she had aggressive acute myeloid leukemia early on in her pregnancy after she went to the doctor because she was feeling sick.
However, it has been difficult for Rabaca to get the treatment she needs because she has yet to find a bone marrow donor match even with the 30 million registered donors worldwide. Even if her sister is a 50 percent match, doctors still say that it is not enough and that she needs a 100 percent match.
Unfortunately, it has been especially difficult for Rabaca to find a match because of her mixed heritage of Latino and Caucasian. Evidently, the donor has to be of a similar DNA and ancestry with the patient for the blood stem cell transplant to work.
As such, she and her family are encouraging more people to sign up in hopes of finally finding the perfect match that could save her life.
Bone Marrow Donation
The first step to being a bone marrow donor is by signing up to be a donor. A simple cotton swab of the inside of the cheek is needed to get a sample of cells, which the experts will compare with the protein markers of the patients who need the transplant.
Once a donor matches with a patient, there are several more steps to be taken before the donation so as to ensure the safety of both the donor and the patient. Once approved, the doctor will choose which donation method would be best for the patient, whether through peripheral blood stem cells or through bone marrow.
During the transplant, the donor’s healthy cells will be put into the patient’s bloodstream where they will move and eventually settle in the bones, hopefully producing its own new and healthy cells.
People are encouraged to sign up to be a donor, whether one might match with a number of people, with no one, or even with just one person who needs it.