Parents

12-year-old searches for bone marrow donor after relapse: 'I will fight for my life'

She thought her fight against cancer was over — and then it wasn't.

Briana Lopez, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 11 years old. Last year, she underwent chemotherapy and surgery, and then a bone marrow transplant, spending 8 months in the hospital. Then Lopez got the news she and her family had been praying for: she was cancer-free.

Lopez-Contreras family
Briana Lopez is fighting cancer for the second time.

But just as Lopez, 12, was settling back into her old life, she relapsed last December. Now the young girl is once again battling cancer and needs another bone marrow transplant. Her family is urging people to get tested and join the National Marrow Donor Program, in hopes of finding a match for Lopez.

RELATED: 'Truly grateful': Strangers linked by life-saving marrow donations

In the meantime, they're staying strong.

"I will fight for my life," said Lopez, who loves singer, Bruno Mars, and plays on her school's basketball team.

Her mother is inspired by her daughter's resilience.

"I'm most proud of Briana's attitude towards this whole ordeal," Yanine Lopez said. "For her to want to go to school, play basketball, laugh, dance and live as if she doesn't have cancer, well, it's just amazing to see. And it makes me very proud. She lives every day as a normal 12-year-old, even when she's going from oncology appointments to basketball practice. She is determined to beat leukemia again and I know she will."

Lopez's diagnosis was a shock to the entire family.

"I thought literally that you only got cancer from smoking," she told TODAY at the time. "And that kids couldn't get it. So I felt in the beginning, like, what did I do to get cancer?"

RELATED: Twin girls meet bone marrow donor 5 years after he helped save their lives

Her mother and stepfather quit their jobs to take care of her. When she started to lose her hair, they shaved their heads in support, as did Lopez's grandparents and godfather. They all wear shirts that say "Bri Strong," just like the backs of the jerseys worn by Lopez's teammates.

The family keeps supporters updated on their Facebook page.

Briana, we're rooting for you!

TOP