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Pregnant leukemia patient whose due date is just weeks away seeks bone marrow donor to save her life

Susie Rabaca, a 36-year-old mother in southern California, is expecting twins and is well into her third trimester. But she is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant in order to save her life. (Image source: KABC-TV video screenshot)

Susie Rabaca, a 36-year-old mother in southern California, is well into her third trimester of pregnancy — and she's fighting for her life.

What are the details?

Doctors diagnosed Rabaca, who is due to give birth to twins around Dec. 6, with leukemia early in her pregnancy.

"I started feeling sick and went to the doctor," Rabaca said. "And I found out I had leukemia."

Rabaca, who has three other children, is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant in order to save her life.

KABC-TV reported that Rabaca's sister is a 50 percent match, but doctors need a 100 percent match for optimum success in treating Rabaca's aggressive acute myeloid leukemia.

Rabaca heritage — she is both Caucasian and Latino — has reportedly made finding a suitable blood stem cell donor difficult.

Julie Korinke, with Be the Match— which is run by the National Marrow Donor Program — said, "In order for a blood stem cell transplant to work, you need to find a match who has similar DNA and ancestry to you."

According to the station, over 30 million people are registered to donate on Be the Match, but none of them are a match for Rabaca.

What did the organization say?

A Nov. 19 Facebook post on the organization's website read, "Susie is a mother of three, balancing a jam-packed schedule and everyday life. Last May, she was thrilled to learn she was pregnant, with twins! A few months later, a routine checkup revealed low Hemoglobin levels, and she needed a blood transfusion, and eventually, a bone marrow biopsy was requested by her doctors."

"In September," the posting continued, "Susie was diagnosed with Leukemia and was told she may need to prematurely deliver her unborn twins. Her resilient babies have handled two rounds of chemo well, and she has not had to deliver prematurely."

"Desperate to find a perfect match, Susie looked to her three siblings and found that one of her sisters is a half match," the post explained. "To ensure better odds of success and the health of her unborn children, Susie has turned to the registry with the hopes of finding a PERFECT match. Could it be you?"

On Thanksgiving, Rabaca issued a plea for help.

"Sign up to be the match," she begged. "It's a simple swab of your cheek. If you are my match, then it's a simple blood draw. ... You can save my life."

You can sign up to see if you are a match with Rabaca here, and read more about the organization.

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