FOLSOM, Calif. - High school sweethearts since before they could legally drive a car, Keith and Mikaela Knapp have spent the last decade building a beautiful life together.
But in October 2013, doctors discovered a terminal form of cancer in Mikaela's kidneys.
Doctors diagnosed it as XP 11.2 translocation renal cell carcinoma.
"We've kind of known there's no chance of her surviving," Mikaela's husband, Keith, said.
Besides being by her side, Keith has spent the months since the diagnosis asking major drug companies to include Mikaela in clinical trials for new cancer treatments.
"It's not fun to put your hopes on things that can't even cure her," Knapp said.
One by one, drug companies have denied the Knapps' requests.
Mikaela's last hope is getting a compassionate use trial from Merck.
More than 50,000 people have signed on to a change.org petition asking for a compassionate trial of Lambrolizumab, Merck's Anti-PD-1 treatment for similar cancers.
The Knapps know it's a long shot, but they'll try anything they can to keep Mikaela alive long enough to be able to try some other promising drugs still in the testing phase.
"The goal, really, is to hope that these drugs that we're fighting to get right now will eventually become FDA approved," Knapp explained.
Knapp said his wife's former colleagues in the public relations business around the United States are preparing a major push, which could even include flying to New York and trying to convince people not to buy Merck's products, should the company deny the couple's plea.
But even that has its risks.
Knapp knows time is not on their side.
"When I go to get on that plane, I'm going to have to say goodbye to [Mikaela], in case something happens while I'm gone," said Knapp.
"Keep on spreading the news and sending out the petition so we can get the signatures we need and I can get the medicine I need to get better," Mikaela Knapp said in a recorded statement Friday evening. "I'll keep up the fight here back here and you guys keep up the fight there and we got this!"
A woman needs people to sign a petition at change.org/savemywife to get into a clinical trial that could help fight her terminal cancer. (Friday, March 21, 2014) News10