A week after Susie Rabaca announced she had found a perfect bone marrow match, the Southern California mother has welcomed twins.
Rabaca, 36, gave birth to a boy and a girl named Rainy and Ryan on Thursday, according to Fox 11. Her family told the news outlet that both Rabaca and babies were doing well.
The new mom of five, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia early on in her pregnancy, has been on an emotional roller coaster within the past year.
Just a few months into carrying her two babies, Rabaca began to feel ill and took a trip to the doctor where she was diagnosed with aggressive cancer and told she needed a bone-marrow transplant, ABC 7 reported in November.
Her sister instantly offered to undergo the procedure but was disappointed to learn she was only a 50 percent match, which doctors explained wasn’t good enough, according to the outlet.
Because of the severity of the cancer — which starts in the bone marrow and often moves to the blood, according to the American Cancer Society — she needed someone with a 100 percent match. The person needed to be, like Rabaca, half-Latino and half-Caucasian.
Despite 30 million people registered on the worldwide registry, the Southern California local did not have a single match with similar DNA or ancestry who could save her life.
“In order for a blood stem cell transplant to work, you need to find a match who has similar DNA and ancestry to you,” Be the Match representative Julie Korinke told ABC 7. “Even with 30 million people on the worldwide registry, Susie does not have one match on that registry.”
“Because matching is based on ancestry and DNA, it’s really important that our registry is just as diverse as our population and right now that isn’t the case,” Korinke added.
Doing whatever she could, Rabaca turned to social media and news outlets in hopes that someone would hear her desperate plea.
“Finding my match is everything to me so I can be here for the three children I have, and the two that I have on the way, it’s everything,” she told Fox 11 at the time. “It’s so easy, there’s no painful procedure, there’s no surgery, it’s just swab your mouth and it’s as simple as a blood draw, and you can save somebody’s life, if not mine, somebody else’s.”
With the help of her 4-year-old daughter, Riley, and even country superstar, Carrie Underwood — who retweeted her story —Rabaca’s plight struck a chord with thousands who either shared her story or went and got tested to see if they were a match.
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More than 50,000 people signed up on the “Be The Match” registry in the days following her plea, reported NBC Nightly News. According to the outlet, it was a record-breaking weekend.
Finally, on Nov. 28, Rabaca revealed to NBC News that perfect person with just the right genetic makeup had been found.
“Oh my god, to me it’s beyond amazing… joy and happiness, it really is,” she told the outlet. “It’s so exciting, it’s the best Christmas gift.”
Rabaca hopes to undergo the bone marrow transplant in the coming days, now that her twins have safely arrived. It is not clear at this time if a date has been set.