Longview girl finds life saving bone marrow match

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When Emi Ballard was diagnosed with the rare disease DOCK8, doctors said only a bone marrow transplant would help get her health back. 

Since that day, Emi has been searching for her match but was told there was no one in the registry who could help. 

The 12-year-old girl was adopted by a family in Longview at a very young age, and after months of searching for a match, Emi’s adoptive mother Katie took matters into her own hands. 

She flew to Belize to find Emi’s birth family to see if they were possible marrow matches. 

It took three trips and a lot of work, but they finally discovered that Emi’s birth mother was a match. 

In a hospital room at the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, the Ballards popped champagne and announced the news. 

“I’m just excited to know I won’t be as sick as often as I was,” Emi said.

Her parents felt the same relief.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of emotion,” said Jason Ballard, “Sometimes you wonder why this is going on for your family.”

Now Emi will have a separate surgery to prepare for the transplant, before flying to Maryland for the big operation. 

But the Ballards say the journey isn’t fight isn’t over.

“With this story and with the opportunity to show how important it is to get ethnic diversity in the registry we have a voice that’s huge and we can bridge those gaps,” said Katie Ballard. 

Emi’s first surgery is expected to happen on Thursday this week. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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