KILLEEN, Texas — If you would like to see if you could be a match for Lizzie, register online or text "Lizzie" to 61474.
Lizzie Tennyson was 13 when went to the doctor because she didn't feel well a couple of weeks after recovering from the flu virus.
"I went in with stomach pains and I didn't think anything of it," she said.
Barely a teenager, Lizzie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
"She was healthy her whole life, she had never been sick," her mom Susan Tennyson said. "That it was leukemia, I just couldn't believe it. It was absolutely earth-shattering. It stopped everything."
Lizzie beat the initial cancer diagnosis and, just like before, a random blood draw 10 months later delivered another devastating blow.
"The cancer returned," she said. "10 months later, it was back."
Eight years later and Lizzie is once again battling cancer but this time her doctors said a bone marrow transplant is her only hope of beating it for good.
"It keeps mutating, it keeps coming back and it's on me. It just sucks," Lizzie said. "There's definitely those moments where I'm thinking, 'why this keeps happening to me.'"
She said she has had moments of wondering if she should keep fighting.
"I hate being sick and I hate having so many things taken away from me," Lizzie said. "It makes me wonder how many more chances am I going to get before we run out of options."
One of the challenges in finding a donor match is because Lizzie is bi-racial and the current registry has yielded few matches. She said it's because she needs a match from a minority and too few of them have donated.
At the Ashley Home Furniture store in Killeen on Saturday, the Tennyson family asked community members to get their cheeks swabbed as she desperately searches for a match that will save her life.
Anyone who missed the event is also able to see if they could be a match by registering either online or by texting "Lizzie" to 61474.
As Lizzie and her family prepare for another fight against cancer, she believes in her heart that without her mom she wouldn't have made it this far.
"I wouldn't be here without her because she's my biggest supporter," Lizzie said as tears rolled down her face. "One day, when I have my own children (I hope) that I can live up and be the type of mother that she is to me."
Susan, who adopted Lizzie when she was 12 days old, said she isn't prepared for life without her.
"I thought I'd never get a chance to be a mom and when I got her and I saw how precious this child was. I cannot imagine losing that before it's time," she said. "I can't comprehend it. No. There's no me without her. There's no world without her. I can't, I can't go there."
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