Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Another Reason to Support LLS



Little girl fighting rare and deadly leukemia needs your help

BY Rich Schapiro DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Wednesday, March 4th 2009, 2:04 AM
Jasmina Anema must get bone marrow soon to survive.
'Everything became surreal because she's always been so healthy and so wonderful,' said Theodora Anema, Jasmina's mother.
Jasmina was diagnosed with NK cell Leukemia on Jan. 20.
Jasmina Anema turns 6 years old Wednesday, and the birthday party planned for her - with a fashion show, cake and an appearance by singer Kelly Rowland - is a dream come true.
But the celebration could be Jasmina's last.

The bubbly Greenwich Village kindergartner is suffering from a rare and especially fatal form of leukemia that doctors fear will take her life within two months unless she receives a bone-marrow transplant.
Jasmina's family - and celebrities like Rihanna and NBA star Paul Pierce, who were touched by her plight - hope a donor drive Saturday will produce the match needed to save her.
"I need thousands of people to come," Jasmina's mother, Theodora Anema, said Tuesday at NYU Medical Center as her ailing child clung to her neck.

"She's the love of my life."

Jasmina's life was turned upside down on Jan. 20 when a doctor informed her she was suffering from NK cell Leukemia.
The news was crushing. Anema had no idea the minor infection on her daughter's toe was a sign of something so sinister.

"Everything became surreal because she's always been so healthy and so wonderful," said Anema, a fashion designer and single mom.

Suddenly, Jasmina was in a fight for her life.

Daily bouts of radiation and chemotherapy began and quickly took their toll.

Her long locks are now gone. Her mouth is riddled with sores, sometimes so painful she cannot speak. And her immune system has become dangerously weakened.

Worse still, Jasmina's leukemia is proving especially difficult to treat.

"The leukemia is growing faster than the chemo can kill it," Anema said.

Even before the start of her daughter's treatment, Anema knew the battle would be fierce.
Because Jasmina is adopted and has no sibling, finding a donor match - which would most likely come from an African- American - is especially difficult.

Further complicating the search is that African-Americans are underrepresented in the national donor network and their DNA tends to be more varied.

"It's one in a million," Anema said. "We really need the African-American community to step up."

Some big names have already joined the cause.

Moved by a video a family friend made, pop sensation Rihanna has made a public plea for people to sign up as bone- marrow donors - done with a simple cheek swab.
Pierce and fellow NBA star Christopher Wilcox also have also helped get the word out.
Still, a match has yet to be found. For Anema, the waiting and worrying is something she says no one should ever endure.

"I don't want anyone in this world to ever have to wait for a bone-marrow donor, or even to have the uncertainty of finding someone," Anema said. "It's the worst situation to be in."

Jasmina's donor drive will be held Saturday at Public School 41 (116 W. 11th St.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, contact DKMS, a nonpprofit marrow donor center: (866)-340-3567.
Post a Comment