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05/06/2009 - 10:18
Two Matches for Jasmina
by Paul Kingston

After months of searching, two near perfect donor matches for six year-old leukemia patient Jasmina Anema have been found.

Paul wants to thank everyone who participated in the donor drives for Jasmina for all of their help. A story from the New York Daily News follows:

There's finally hope for little Jasmina.

After thousands of people flooded bone-marrow donor drives, a pair of near-perfect matches have been found for the 6-year-old leukemia victim who has captivated the city.

The incredible news came just a day after test results showed Jasmina Anema's cancer cells to be in remission, clearing a critical hurdle in her quest to receive a life-saving marrow transplant.

"I am just thrilled," Theodora Anema, Jasmina's mother said Tuesday. "I've never lost hope. I always expected a miracle, and this is like finding a miracle."

Jasmina, who has been hospitalized since January with a rare and especially deadly form of leukemia, will undergo another bone marrow test tomorrow.

If her cancer cells are once again undetectable and either of the donors pass a medical screening, prepping for her transplant will likely begin in a few weeks.

"I'm still a bit nervous, but it's never looked this good," Theodora Anema said.

The process is not without risk. The two potential donors, whose identities remain a mystery until a transplant is completed, are "nine out of 10" donor matches.

Since neither is a perfect match, there is an increased possibility that Jasmina's body might reject the foreign bone marrow.

Still, Jasmina and her loved ones have reason to be optimistic.

"Jasmina has been like a miracle girl," said Katharina Harf, co-founder of DKMS, an international bone-marrow donor organization.

"She has been through six different rounds of chemotherapy, and all of the doctors can't believe that she's doing so well clinically. If someone has a good chance of making it, it's Jasmina."

A coterie of celebrities, moved by Jasmina's plight, have rallied around her since she was diagnosed with NK-cell leukemia on Jan. 20.

Singers Rihanna and Kelly Rowland have visited her at NYU Langone Medical Center, playing for hours with the bubbly Manhattan kindergartner. The Naked Brothers, Nat and Alex Wolff, have also surprised Jasmina inside the hospital room that's become her home.

And NBA stars Paul Pierce and Chris Wilcox have made public pleas for people to register as donors.

"The support has been amazing," Theodora Anema said.

After Jasmina's condition was chronicled in the Daily News, more than 7,000 New Yorkers registered to be bone-marrow donors in the hope they could be her genetic savior.

Finding a match for Jasmina has been especially difficult because she does not have full siblings, and African-Americans are vastly underrepresented in the donor registry.

The monstrous turnouts at Jasmina's drives have already produced results.

A registration drive at Jasmina's school, Public School 41, in March led to the discovery of a perfect match for a 38-year-old man in need of a bone-marrow donor.

"She already saved a life," Theodora Anema said.

Now, it's Jasmina's turn.

RELATED STORIES
Bone-marrow donor drives finally yield 2 matches for Jasmina Anema (NY Daily News, May 6, 2009)
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/05/06/2009-05-06_bonemarrow_don...