CREATED Jun. 14, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson has followed Lizzie Bell's story since she was a child and now a major development will lead to a new normal for her.
Lizzie Bell is getting ready to head to Minnesota for a life saving operation because after years of searching, doctors found the perfect match for a bone marrow transplant.
Weekly blood transfusions at University of Arizona Medical Center have kept Lizzie alive. She has a rare form of anemia called Diamond Blackfan, meaning she can't produce her own healthy red blood cells.
To prepare for the bone marrow transplant in July, Lizzie will undergo chemotherapy and radiation.
Her mom Kathy knows the weeks and months ahead will be a challenge, but she held back tears describing what life will be like for her daughter after the surgery.
"We're going to go do this transplant thing and then (she's) going to go to college," Kathy said. "And (she) wants the Paris trip two years out, (she) can have a Paris trip. What else? Cause we got to focus on the future."
Kathy says the operation is in Minnesota because the university's hospital has the oldest pediatric transplant unit in the country.
Lizzie will also have the support of relatives who live there.
Before Lizzie and her family leave Tucson, they're hosting a Great Gatsby themed party Saturday night at Rancho Valle Milagro.
Kathy said they plan to take tons of pictures that lizzie will hang up in her Minnesota hospital room.