Emma is a joyful little girl who loves the movie Frozen and her puppy, Lola. She brings her radiant smile with her everywhere she goes – even on visits to the hospital. You’d never know it from her sunny disposition, but Emma has battled cancer for most of her life.
I was kind of scared at first but I’m getting through it,” Emma bravely explained. “All the nurses are so kind to me and take good care of me.
Emma, who turned 8 in June 2015, was adopted from Guatemala when she was an infant. “She was a beautiful baby, full of energy and happiness,” said her father, Paul.
When she was just 18 months old, Emma was diagnosed with the pediatric eye cancer, Retinoblastoma. After surgery to remove her right eye and several reconstructive surgeries, Emma was cancer-free.
In 2012, when Emma was four, her health took another devastating turn: She was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. After an intense regimen of chemotherapy, Emma fought her cancer into remission. In December 2014, she received her last treatment. "It looked like she had beaten it," Paul said.
Sadly, Emma’s leukemia returned in April 2015, and a bone marrow transplant is her best chance for long-term survival. But first, she needs to find a matching donor. Because of her ethnicity, Emma’s chances of finding a match are very slim – Hispanic donors make up only 10 percent of the registry.
Thankfully, Emma has a huge team rallying to help her find a lifesaver. During Summer 2015, more than 70 Hyatt-branded hotels held bone marrow donor registration drives across the U.S. in a campaign named #4Emma4All – aimed at growing the registry and increasing the odds of survival for Emma and others searching for a bone marrow match
"I am so grateful at this amazing response. This is saving lives,” explained Paul, a former general manager of Hyatt Huntington Beach and current area vice president for Hyatt in Northern California. “The Hyatt is really a company about care."
It takes 30 seconds to swab the inside of each cheek and a few minutes to fill out the paperwork, and you’re on the registry," he said. “It is an easy process to save a life.