LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – After months in a Maryland hospital undergoing several different treatments, Longview native Emi Ballard is finally back home.
Emi was diagnosed with the rare disease, DOCK8, and needed a bone marrow transplant to save her life.
She was adopted by a family in Longview at a very young age, and after months of searching for a match, Emi’s adoptive mother Katie took matters into her own hands.
She flew to Belize in search of Emi’s birth family to see if there were any matches. It took three trips and a lot of work, but they finally discovered that Emi’s birth mother was a match.
She spent the holidays in the hospital but said she always felt her community’s support.
People from all over East Texas sent ornaments to her at the Children’s Inn to help her feel at home and they also lined up at the Gregg County airport to cheer on her arrival.
Her parents said they’re happy to have their daughter return home as a survivor, and are now advocates for other people to “be the match.”