Jasmina Anema celebrated her 6th birthday yesterday, but she spent it in a hospital room at NYU Medical Center. Jasmina is suffering from a rare and deadly form of leukemia, which was only discovered in January. Her mother Theodora Anema, who adopted Jasmina when she was three days old, told the Daily News, "Everything became surreal because she's always been so healthy and so wonderful."
While a combination of chemotherapy is being used to help fight the disease, Dr. William Carroll, director of NYU Cancer Institute, told WCBS 2, "To ultimately cure the disease she will need a bone marrow transplant." He added, "The problem is that finding a perfect bone marrow donor is difficult because Jasmina has no full siblings. To make matters worse, African-Americans are under-represented in the donor base thus finding the perfect match is even harder." Which is why a bone marrow donor drive is planned for this weekend (details below).
Jasmina's best friend Isabelle helped make a video to spread the word about her plight—it's incredibly moving and sweet:
Singer Rihanna was so moved by the story that she urged people to sign up with DKMS (a non-profit donor center) to see if they can be a donor match. New NY Knick Chris Wilcox visited Jasmina last week and yesterday, singer Kelly Rowland sang "Happy Birthday" to Jasmina and became registered as a potential donor.
This Saturday, DKMS is organizing a bone marrow drive in search for potential donors at P.S. 41 (116 W. 11th Street), between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; if you can't attend, you can request a donor kit from DKMS. Theodora Anema is grateful for the attention, telling WCBS 2, "There are many people who are helping which is wonderful, especially in this time of economic distress, nothing but goodness. Really New Yorkers have been fantastic, really amazing." For further information, go to One for Jasmina.