GEORGETOWN, TEXAS - There's something magical about birthdays. But Yasmin Hernandez's was particularly special.
No one was sure Yasmin would be here to celebrate nine.
“We almost lost her two times,” said Bianca Hernandez, Yasmin’s mom. “Today's the best day. Such a special day.”
Most people remember Yasmin from stories KVUE did two years ago. She was in the hospital ready to go home.
At age 6, doctors diagnosed her with aplastic anemia, a rare blood disorder where the blood attacks itself. Yasmin had made countless visits to the hospital months at a time.
The only cure was something no one in her family could provide. She needed a bone marrow transplant.
“Her siblings were not a match," Bianca said. In fact, no one in her family matched.
"It's the worst thing ever when you know that a bone marrow transplant is what you need to make things better and you cannot find a donor," said Robert Mignacca, M.D. a pediatric heptologist and oncologist at Dell Children's Medical Center.
Every year, 14,000 people like Yasmin wait for that perfect match. Less than half -- about 6,000 -- find it.
So KVUE partnered up with Be the Match and the Round Rock Express and set up a bone marrow drive.
It was the most successful drive in Central Texas history. Weeks later, good news arrived for Yasmine. Doctors found a match.
From surgery to recovery KVUE's viewers helped pull her through by sending cards and get-well wishes.
"I'm just so thankful to the community for everything -- all their support and them showing her that people out there really do care about her," Bianca said.
Two years and countless doctor visits all to get to this.
Yasmin’s sweet, fun loving personality has blossomed. Yet there are reminders of the challenges ahead.
“The port is still there -- right here. It is right here,” Yasmin said as she pointed to her chest.
She must still make trips to Dallas every six weeks to get blood drawn. Doctors want to ensure everything looks okay. But for the first time, in a long time, she's doing all the things most kids her age do.
“She couldn't come out here and be around other children -- play with them at a park. She couldn't sit at a desk and enjoy being around her classmates,” Bianca said.
She got to experience her first visit to a public playground and now she's starting her first day of school in two years.
“It's like a whole new her,” Bianca said.
Yasmin is an example of the hope we can find in each other and in living life to the fullest -- no matter your age.
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