If Di Corte (22), Cannot find a match for the transplant, her life is on the line. The genetic disease (Mitochondrial Neurogastrointestinal Encephalopathy - MNGIE
) is so rare that most doctors have yet to hear about it let alone learn about treatment. Di Corte is only one of 70 documented cases of MNGIE.
MNGIE hits the digestive and nervous systems. The muscles and nerves that move food and waste through the digestive system are hit, so anything eaten just rots in the body. Symptoms include weight loss, trouble swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, pain, intestinal blockage and nausea.
Her family, lead by 17-year-old brother Anthony Di Corte, has taken to social media to raise awareness for the disease and sign up potential donors through the OneMatch
network. The goal is to arrange masses of supporters to use the Twitter hashtag #HopeForCristina once a week to cause the topic to trend to raise awareness. So far, well over 61,000 tweets have been sent.
"I never thought that, being healthy my whole life, I'd have something like this," she said. "And obviously being 22, I'm a young adult, wanting obviously to have a future, having kids and getting married, and it's hard to think that I might not have those things."
"I have a great family, a good support system, and they are really positive people and they are getting me through this and keeping me positive to think that I'm going to find a match and I'm going to live a longer life."
Once a donor match is identified, Di Corte will go through a round of chemotherapy to kill off her marrow cells, and then the donor's will be injected into her. With a good outcome, she will recover in just a few weeks. As reported by the GiveForward
campaign, the odds of finding a match outside the family are approximately 30,000 : 1.