Volume 21, Number 41 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | February 20 - 26, 2009
Bone marrow donor sought
By Candida L. Figueroa
Friends, family and a celebrity are looking for a bone marrow donor for a 5-year-old Soho resident, Jasmina Anema.
Earlier in the year, Jasmina was diagnosed with a rare disease, Acute NK Leukemia, which is a combination of the two acute forms of the cancer. Ideally, the best matches for bone marrow transplants are those of the same race and ethnicity. Adopted in Virginia by her parents at three days old, Jasmina has no full siblings and her parents have no way to contact her birth family.
According to the National Marrow Donor Program, African Americans like Jasmina consist of only eight percent of the 6 million donors in the U.S. Due to the low registration, about 17% of patients in the black community will get a transplant. The human leukocyte antigens (H.L.A.), one way cells recognize each other, must be exact or else the body will reject it.
Karen Detrick and her adopted daughter Isabelle have started a website looking for the perfect match, ONE for Jasmina, which recently caught the eye of R&B superstar Rihanna, who is helping in the search. Isabelle and Jasmina have been friends since they were two.
Jasmina attended Red Apple Pre-school in Chinatown where she took piano lessons, and learned Mandarin. She is enrolled at P.S 41 in Greenwich Village, but has been in the hospital since starting chemotherapy last month. She has been responsive to the treatment and her sprits remain high, despite going through bouts with fevers and losing her curly locks, Detrick said.
“Our desire is two fold,” said Detrick. “First and foremost, we want to find the perfect match for Jasmina. Also, most people don’t have these resources and this campaign gives them a chance. It so easy for people to get their H.L.A. in the registry.”
Results for a potential bone marrow match are done through saliva testing from the cheek. If someone is eligible, stem cells are taken from the blood or tissue is extracted from the bone with anesthesia.
P.S 41 will host a bone marrow drive for Jasmina on Mar., 7 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 116 West 11th St. and 6th Ave. “I won’t stop until I get my daughter to swab the inside of her mouth on Oprah,” Detrick said. For more information, visit oneforjasmina.com.