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6-year-old in need of marrow transplant

March 5, 2009 7:40:34 AM PST
The family and doctors of a little girl from Manhattan are on a desperate search. Jasmina Amena, who turned 6 Wednesday, suffers from a rare and particularly deadly form of leukemia. Her only hope is a bone marrow transplant. So far a match has not turned up, and her doctors say time is running out. Singer Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child helped Jasmina celebrate her birthday, spending hours with the Greenwich Village kindergartener who now calls her hospital room home. "This young, beautiful little girl needs a match," Rowland said. "When you meet her you just can't help but fall in love."

Just six weeks ago, Jasmina's mother took her to their pediatrician to check out what she thought was a minor toe infection. After doing a blood test, the doctor told her he thought it was a little more serious and that they should go to the hospital immediately. According to Jasmina's mother, "We've been there ever since".

Now the kindergartener deals with daily radiation and chemotherapy. She's lost her hair and mouth sores make it too painful to talk.

According to Dr. William Carrol of the N.Y.U. Medical Center, "Chemotherapy alone will not cure this leukemia. We have a challenge ahead of us. There's a point where even a transplant won't help."

Doctor William Carroll says Jasmina needs a donor fast.

The problem is she's adopted and doesn't have siblings. Even worse, there are few African Americans in the national donor network.

Doctors say potential donors may be discouraged because they assume that testing for bone marrow matches is a painful process.

In reality, it's a rather simple, involving a swab placed inside the check. Then the potential donor is put into a database, which then puts them in a position of possibly being able to save someone's life.

Celebrities like Kelly Rowland and Rihanna hope people hear Jasmina's story and go to Saturday's donor drive at her school. It's from 10 until 2 at p.s. 41. It could give Jasmina the chance to see her seventh birthday.

For more on making donations for Jasmina, go to, www.oneforjasmina.com.
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 non-profit marrow donor center: (866)-340-3567.
To see what the Jasmina's school is doing for her, go to, http://www.ps41.org/one-for-jasmina/.

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Web produced by: Jeff Greene


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