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Visa approved for girl's bone marrow transplant

December 2, 2011 8:13:24 PM PST
There's hope for a little girl battling Leukemia. Federal authorities have given her sister permission to come to the U.S. from El Salvador because she's a bone marrow transplant match for Yarelis Bonilla.

Federal authorities have given her sister permission to come to the U.S. from El Salvador because she's a bone marrow transplant match for Yarelis Bonilla.

It was an important announcement in the life of a little girl who's fighting a form of Leukemia that's killing her.

"The victory of common sense over bureaucracy," Sen. Robert Menendez said.

A Bone Marrow transplant that she so desperately needs is closer to becoming a reality now that her sister, the only perfect match, was given the green light by the U.S. government to make the trip from El Salvador to Newark's Beth Israel Medical Center for the surgery.

"I always say, the human heart is bigger than any immigration law and we've got the government to do what is right," Sen. Menendez said.

But getting the government to move on the issue took the Senator and others pushing.

In September, the State Department denied Gissele Bonilla's visa request, not once but twice.

Finally, after costly delays the Department of Homeland Security granted the 7-year-old something called Humanitarian Parole.

It gives her 3-months in the U.S. enough time for the surgery that will give her little sister the transplant she needs.

"Without it she wouldn't have any chance at all. With this she has a chance," said Dr. Peri Kamalakar, Yarelis' doctor.

Earlier this week when Eyewitness News visited Yarelis she was in good spirits.

She was drawing a self portrait.

But on this night, the picture is different as the chemotherapy is taking a toll.

Her father says they were desperate as they waited for the government to act in their favor.

Now, Yarelis Bonilla's family is hopeful that the little girl who likes to draw will soon be the picture of good health.

Her sister should be cleared to travel sometime next week. Doctors hope to perform the transplant in January.


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