MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A South Florida girl in the fight for her life is turning to the community to find a bone marrow donor.
Briana Vega, 11, was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2012, just days after her 10th birthday.
She immediately started chemotherapy at Miami Children’s Hospital and was doing well.
So well in fact, last year, she was featured in a CBS4 report where she was a guest model in a charity fashion show.
“It’s fun because I got to design part of the dress,” Briana told CBS4 in January 2013.
Her cancer was in remission at the time, but in October 2013, it returned in the form of acute myeloid leukemia.
Her father, Humberto, said the idea of a bone marrow transplant hadn’t been brought up until then.
“It’s kind of rough to think when somebody tells you this is apparently not working. Let’s do something else because your mind starts going crazy and thinking of different things,” Humberto Vega said.
So far, two previous matches haven’t worked out for Briana.
“We found out last week that one of them just opted out said I don’t want to do this anymore for some reason. Just opted out of the program. The second one is apparently in Australia and we can’t get a hold of him,” Humberto Vega said. “It’s extremely frustrating when you don’t have a match.”
Briana will turn 12 next month.
Her father describes her as a cheerful girl who likes to play pranks on her doctors and nurses.
While the last couple years have been hard physically and emotionally, she remains positive.
“Even though something bad happened to you, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world,” Briana said in January 2013.
As a junior ambassador at MCH, Briana is constantly advocating for pediatric cancer awareness.
Now, her family hopes her message helps save her life.
“I’ve been telling all my family, all my work friends, everyone we come in contact with, basically, go get tested and see if you’re a match,” Humberto Vega said.
To find out how you can get tested or help Briana’s family, visit Neighbors4Neighbors.
The testing process is simple and painless.
Anyone wanting to get tested to see if you are match, can go by the following locations on the days listed below.
Monday– Miami Children’s Hospital; 3100 SW 62nd Ave, Miami, FL 33155
Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday– Kendall Regional Medical Center ; 11750 SW 40th St, Miami, FL 33175