A friend sent me a link to a story about a little girl needing a bone marrow transplant. All sorts of thoughts came to mind. I definitely believe in blood donation and know there is a definite need for minorities to do this more, but I’m still thinking would I really help out a stranger in need. My kid yes. Family yes. A stranger? To be honest, I was thinking I don’t know. I’m busy trying to maintain my own health, I don’t know if I would compromise it any to help a stranger.
One of my initial thoughts was also who is this girl and how did she, of all sick kids, end up with a website and meeting celebrities. As I click on her website, I begin to hear the voice of a child telling me about her sick friend. Of course her voice pulls at your heart strings. You see a beautiful picture of a smiling girl who is in the hospital but really doesn’t look that sick. She’s smiling as she goes through the medical procedures and you hear her laughter.
As I continue to click I learn that giving a bone marrow transplant is fairly simple and poses no major risk to the donor at all. To test if you’re a viable donor, you swab your cheek with a cotton swab. If you are a match, there’s two ways that you can help a sick person.
- Donate your stem cells. The procedure is described as simple as donating blood. (You’re required to take some pills 5 days before the procedure to build up your blood cell count.)
- Donate bone marrow. A needle is stuck in your hip and a liquid is taken out of your body. It’s an outpatient procedure done with minimal anesthesia.
As I searched for more information about Jasmina I find a Daily News article that goes into more detail about the little girl. I’m immediately shocked because the smiling girl with long locks is lying in a hospital bed. Her locks and the beautiful smile … gone.
According to the Daily News, Jasmina was diagnosed with NK cell Leukemia on January 20, 2009. She 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. Daily bouts of radiation and chemotherapy have begun to take their toll. According to Jasmina’s adoptive mother, “the leukemia is growing faster than the chemo can kill it”.
Because Jasmina is adopted and has no siblings, finding a donor match — which would most likely come from an African- American — has been especially difficult.
On January 20th many of you stood with pride and took Obama’s lead and committed yourselves to helping others in your communities. This Sunday, there is a bone marrow drive at the Harlem Children’s Zone. Stop by to see if you can help Jasmina or someone else. For more info on Jasmina, click here. For more on bone marrow donation in general, click here.
Note: If you’re not in Harlem or can’t make it Sunday, you can order a do-it-yourself cheek swab kit and mail the kit in. (Click image below to see video and order form.)