DUARTE (CBSLA.com) — A Corona woman fighting leukemia for the third time has hope she may finally be cured with her brother’s help.
Raeleen Whitt, 24, has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, otherwise known as cancer of the bloodstream. After fighting off the disease twice before, tests in May revealed the cancer was back.
“I feel like this is my last shot, and I really want to do what’s best for me: to get a cure,” she told CBS2’s Kristine Lazar.
Her older brother, Derek, this week will donate bone marrow. The transplant is scheduled for Wednesday at City of Hope.
“If I could put it on myself or anybody else, I would. I love her more than anybody. She’s my best friend,” he said.
So far, chemotherapy has not kept the cancer at bay. But Raeleen’s doctors are optimistic.
“If we thought that this was only going buy her another year or two years without a hope of permanently getting rid of this, we might not necessarily recommend this for her,” City of Hope’s Clinical Professor and Associate Clinical Director Margaret O’Donnell said.
Raeleen was accepted into nursing school before she learned the cancer was back. Her hope is to work in oncology and help patients just like herself.
In the meantime, she’s focused on planning her future and spending time with loved ones.
“I’ve been given these extra years to enjoy my time on Earth and my time with my family and my friends and everyone that’s important to me,” she said. “If I didn’t have any family that is always pushing me to do better and just pushing me to do well for myself, and [to] give me all this confidence, it would be a completely different situation. I would feel defeated and wouldn’t want to continue to go through this a third time.”
Raeleen will have to spend about two months at City of Hope after the transplant and plans to continue her recovery at home.
Her nursing school has promised to save her spot.
“It really is about thinking positive and telling yourself you’re going to get through this and having future plans,” she said.