As ambassadors for Be The Match, both Donis
and Rabaca encourage everyone to become donors
and save a life. In 2016, Donis met her two donors,
Fernando and Jose, at a Be The Match’s Council
Meeting. She is now five years post-transplant,
happy and healthy.
“Thousands of patients are given a second
chance at life after receiving a transplant and
essentially being cured of their disease,” shares
Sevilla.“For patients like Brianna, a young woman
with her whole life ahead of her, having a
matching donor who could cure her of her blood
disease changed everything. She could continue
going to school and living her life. Some patients
go from needing blood transfusions ever few
weeks and constant hospital visits to being fully
cured of their disease and able to live a healthy
Donis plans to graduate next year and hopes
to have a career with Be The Match.
“It’s so rewarding to be able to save
somebody’s life or have a chance at it,” shares
Donis. “You are probably that person’s best
chance of their future. You are not impacting that
person’s life, but everyone’s life around them. My
life is here today because of donors. I needed
transfusions every day, and I am here today
because of them.”
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Susie Rabaca with her twins, a boy and a girl, Ryan and Rainy.
What is the best approach to donating?
There are two methods through which a registry member may be asked
to donate: PBSC or marrow donation. PBSC stands for peripheral
blood stem cell collection – a nonsurgical procedure similar to
donating plasma where blood is extracted from one arm, stem cells are
collected by a machine, and remaining blood is returned through the
other arm. For five days leading up to a PBSC donation, the donor will
receive injections of a drug called filgrastim to increase the number of
blood forming stem cell in their bloodstream. Marrow donation is a
surgical procedure that requires the donor to go under anesthesia and
marrow is extracted from both sides of the back of the pelvic bone.
Donation is not painful, although donors do describe some muscle
aches leading up to PBSC or following marrow donation. Most donors
return to work or school within one week, if not sooner. The patient’s
physician will request which form of donation they require for optimal
How can someone become a donor?
LATINA Style readers who are in good health and between the ages of
18 and 44 years old can join the Be The Match Registry for free.
All it takes is a cheek swab to have your genetic typing added to the
international registry. The kit will be sent to your home address within
one week and once the cheek swab is returned, it will take another 4 to
6 weeks to have your blood stem cells typed and receive your official
registration card via mail.
To register on behalf of patients like Susie visit:
Susie Rabaca with her five children.
24 www. lat inastyle.com LATINAStyle Vol . 25, No. 3, 2019