Rina Sy (aka 'Resilient Rina') is an 8 year old girl from San Diego, CA who on 5/10/13, at the age of 5, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia - Philadelphia Chromosome. ALL Ph+ is a rare and very aggressive version of ALL where only 5% of kids are diagnosed with this form of blood cancer. Typical Acute Lympholastic Leukemia, which is the most common form of childhood cancer, has an 85% survival rate, but Rina was diagnosed within the 5% that have a Philadelphia chromosome.
Though some standard treatments for leukemia may end with chemotherapy treatments, immediately following Rina's 3 rounds of chemo treatments and just 4 months after diagnosis, Rina underwent a bone marrow transplant on 9/17/13 after discovering that her only sibling, 3-yr old Patrick beat the 1 in 4 chance of being her perfect marrow sibling match.
On transplant day, Patrick stayed overnight in the hospital room next to his sister's after the medical team successfully extracted his liquid bone marrow from both hips - receiving a single blood transfusion from the matched blood donated by Rina's & Patrick's mom just a few days before the procedure. Patrick was aware of the importance of his role in Rina's life and turned it into a game of Angry Birds. He knew that he had Angry Birds in his body that could fight the bad piggies in his sister's body; she refers to him as a Super Bone Marrow Donor. The family had a party before the surgery and even a cape made for Patrick.
It was later discovered after the transplant, that Patrick's quantity of cells received by Rina were DOUBLE the amount of new cells anticipated! "Powerful Patrick's" cells allowed for an amazing recovery forever bonding the two siblings stronger than ever imagined. The fight continues as Rina will stay on immunosuppressants for 6 months and daily chemo by pill in order to lessen future chances of relapse.
Thanks to a wonderful medical team, cancer research, and especially her brave and powerful little brother Patrick, Rina has been gifted with a second chance in life.
Rina is grateful to the staff at Rady Children's for helping her during her most critical time of need. The Child Life Specialists coached her on how to take and swallow pills, and played with her in her room and playrooms. The art therapist helped her to communicate her feelings through art and the nurses in the integrative medicine program helped her to feel better by using lavender essential oils. The family feels as though Rady Children's is a part of their family and considers being at Rady Children's the best thing that could have happened for their children.
To follow Rina's battle with cancer pls visit her blog on www.caringbridge.org/visit/rinasy or visit her website at www.rinasy.weebly.com