9-year-old with leukemia still looking for bone marrow match - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

9-year-old with leukemia still looking for bone marrow match

(Source: Scott and White Marrow Donor Program) (Source: Scott and White Marrow Donor Program)
TEMPLE, TX (KXXV) -

Nine-year-old Gabi Ornelas wants to be a singer.

Her grandmother, Cynthia Rios, says she's a fighter.

"Like she said, she's not giving up. we're not giving up. That's what she said," Rios said.

Two years ago, Gabi's life changed in an instant.

"We didn't know she was sick. The only thing she kept saying she wanted to quit school. I said you can't quit school baby," Rios said.

In February 2015, Gabi went to the dentist to have a tooth removed. The next day, her mouth was still swollen so she stayed home from school. While she was home, she had a seizure.

"I've never seen her do what she did that day," Rios said. "Her whole body limp, her face dropped and I had to run and catch her so she didn't hit her head on the bathtub. I said Gabi! Gabi! Can you hear me? She had no response."

Gabi was rushed to the hospital, but what doctor's told her family next was something her grandmother couldn't believe.

"That's when they told us she has leukemia. I said no, no, no. go back. It can't be."

Gabi is now on chemotherapy, but she needs a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, no one in her family is a 100% match, which is a common reality for many people who need a donor. Only 30-percent of patients who need a transplant find a match in a family member.

A year and a half later, Gabi is still searching for her perfect donor.

"God has plans for us. Don't know how. But we're going to continue to fight and and not give up," Rios said.

Gabi and Cynthia are asking you to help.

"It takes a lot of registration for people to come register, not just for Gabi. For all of the other children out there in the world that are looking for you to save all of their lives," Rios said.

Until they find that match, Gabi tells her grandmother, they'll keep fighting.

"I think we keep each other going," Rios said. "The way she talks it just touches me because she's not just talking about fighting about, she talks about hanging on to life."

Be The Match is looking for people ages 18 to 44 to be tested. They swab your cheek cells to see if you would be a match to one of the patients needing a transplant.

If you would like to sign up to register or would like more information on donating, click here or call the Scott & White Marrow Donor Program at (254) 724-2811. 

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