12-year-old gets cancer again, but pledges — ‘I’m going to beat this’
FORT LEE — The family members of a 12-year-old girl got what they thought was the best news possible in July when they were told her acute myeloid leukemia was in remission.
Going into the new year, the news was not as good for Briana Lopez, as the cancer has returned — but you would never know it from a video the young girl recently posted on a Facebook page dedicated to her cancer fight.
With more than 500 followers Lopez, started the video by saying "Thank you to all of you guys for your thoughts and prayers."
While admitting that "2016 wasn't such an easy year for my family and for me in general," she added, "2017 is going to be a better year. We've just got to stay strong, be positive, and happy, and we're going to get through this and I'm going to beat this."
Briana was first diagnosed with AML in January, according to an earlier post on the Bri Strong Facebook page. She spent the next eight months in the hospital. But after several chemotherapy treatments and a bone marrow transplant, she was declared in remission, the page states.
"Unfortunately, in the last week of October two tumors appeared on the head, which after being biopsied they discovered them to be malignant. They are called Chloromas, and it happens to only 1 percent of patients after having AML," the page states. She's been getting radiation treatment for another tumor in her left eye, as well as chemotherapy.
"The doctors have warned us that Briana will need a second bone marrow transplant in order to survive," the page reads.
According to DeleteBloodCancer.org, more than 14,000 patients with blood cancer need a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor each year. Unfortunately, 6 out of 10 of those people do not receive a transplant, the site says.
Joining the registry is simple. Donors fill out a form and have their cheek swabbed for 30 seconds to collect cells, which are then used to see if there are patients who match, according to DeleteBloodCancer.org.
Hispanics only represent 3 percent of people who have registered nationally as bone marrow donors, DeleteBloodCancer.org reports. And patients are more likely to find a match among donors from the same ethnic background.
"Briana is a very caring, outgoing, and friendly girl," her support page reads. "She has always enjoyed helping others. Many say that she is very mature for her age, and it is true — at her young age she had to go through the horrible disease called cancer, which not only made her grow faster in her mind but has taught her to appreciate life more."
More from New Jersey 101.5: