Marrow drive held to save 6-year-old

April 3, 2009 9:55:55 PM PDT
On Saturday, people in the Bay Area have the chance to perhaps save a 6-years-old girl's life. She has a rare form of leukemia.

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For nearly two months, Jasmina Anema has called a New York hospital home. Only a bone marrow transplant will save her life and she battling tough odds. She's adopted with no siblings and is African American.

"African Americans are the most underrepresented group within the bone marrow donor registry, so her chances of finding a match is extremely slim," said Jeremy Panacheril, a family friend.

Jasmina's diagnosis came just before her sixth birthday when her mom discovered what looked like a bruise on her toe and took her to the doctor's office.

"He took a blood test and came back to me and said, 'I think it's more serious and I already called NYU and you have to go immediately to the hospital,'" said Theodora Anema, Jasmina's mother.

The race against time has gotten national attention and gotten the support of stars like Kelly Rowland from the pop group Destiny's Child.

"This young beautiful little girl needs a match," said Rowland.

Now a family friend in the Bay Area is bringing that effort to Oakland. A bone marrow drive will take place Saturday at the African American Museum and Library between 11 and 3. The process is quick, simple and painless.

"The way it works is you'll come here tomorrow and you just take these cotton swabs, swab the inside of the check, drop into a little envelope like a fed ex package and that's all you need to do to determine if you are a match for Jasmina or anybody else who is in this situation," said Panacheril.

Event information:
African American Museum of History in Oakland
659 14th Street at Martin Luther King Way
April 4, 2009
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

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