New Blood for a Little Girl

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

This is cross-posted from Big Orange, with no changes.  Apologies to the dharmaniacs who hate GOS…

Okay, those of you who know me, know that I am more of a commenter than a diarist.  But a story I read today, from yesterday’s NYT, touched me & since Kossacks are so giving (& since this is the biggest forum I go to), I thought it was perfect for a shout-out.

A quick search revealed nothing: if this has been diaried before, I will delete it.

Anyway, there’s a six-year-old girl in New York who needs a bone marrow trasnplant.  Details beneath the jump.

Update: Thanks for the promote, buhdy!

Jasmina just turned 6 years old.  The chemo has made her lose her hair; her mother has moved into the hospital; but because she is adopted, she has no relatives who can contribute: according to the NYT, she has no full siblings, the likeliest group to match her blood & bone marrow type.

In early January, a red blip, the size of a bug bite, appeared. It got itchy, and she told her mom, Thea Anema.

“It looked like nothing,” the mother said. Then the foot started to swell. On the morning of Jan. 20, on their way to Jasmina’s kindergarten at Public School 141 in Greenwich Village, they stopped at the pediatrician’s office.

Her abdomen was swollen; a test found her white blood cells in the organized riot of leukemia.

“He said go to N.Y.U. Medical Center,” Ms. Anema said on Friday. “We hopped in a cab, and basically have been here since then.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03…

Jasmina, who is African-American and was adopted at 3 days old, faces more hurdles than most. Genetic matches are more likely within families, and then within racial and ethnic groups. She does not have full siblings….

There are over 200,000 of us here at dKos.  The point of this diary is to ask: do you know how/can you help this little girl?  One key piece in the story: only 440,000 people were added to the bone marrow donor list last year.  Twice the Kos membership: but not nearly enough.  As Jasmina’s mother says:

“You go into the hospital and you need blood; you don’t have to call all your friends to see who can give blood,” said Ms. Anema, a fashion designer. “You do for bone marrow.”

The online story, linked above, has links to the National Marrow Donor Program, and to A.A.B.B., previously known as the American Association of Blood Banks.

I really don’t know much else…action diaries are not my area of expertise…but am hoping that those Kossacks who do not read the Times but who care, will read this & maybe consider passing it along.  Or writing to their senators and representatives so that blood banks have to test for bone marrow transplant compatibility.  Anyway, thanks for reading, and anything you can do to help Jasmina, I’m sure she and her mother would appreciate.  I don’t know them, I only read about this in the Times.  But it touched me.

We have so many problems…so many are uninsured (yeah, me included in that), but this little girl…oh, go read the story.  Please.

26 comments

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  1. maybe not donating bone marrow, although that would be wonderful, but maybe: can we organize a campaign to make it required that blood donors are screened for possible bone marrow matches?

    Because this is only one little girl; there are plenty more children who have leukemia.  My half-brother died of it when he was seven: he would have been much older than I am, and I am quite sure they didn’t have the technology for bone marrow transplants back in that era.  But it could save lives now.

    Because now we do have the technology.  All we need is the donors.

  2. It would help narrow the field down more quickly.

    FWIW, I found out that I am not allowed to donate blood. As per the Red Cross, anyone who was stationed in Europe during the time I was there is flagged for possible mad cow disease. The commissaries in Germany and elsewhere were buying beef from Britain.

    • Edger on March 30, 2009 at 1:54 am

    and I really didn’t expect to find any good news, until I came across this short little article from The National Academy Of Sciences – is this usually the case, do you know, Youffraita?

    Suddenly, it seemed, Debbie Brown became permanently tired. She was so tired that she had to crawl up the stairs, and with any slight contact, she bruised. It was 1954, and Debbie, age 9, had leukemia.

    A year earlier, Debbie would have died within months. But it was 1954, and Debbie’s doctor knew about Dr. Joseph Burchenal’s work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York. After a referral, Burchenal’s team gave Debbie two experimental drugs, 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) and methotrexate–and a chance for survival.

    The scientists who developed those drugs, which are still used in leukemia chemotherapy, did not stumble upon them in nature or in the laboratory. Instead, they set out to design the drugs, which were among the first ones ever made to order.

    Without the drugs, Debbie had a life expectancy of 3 months; with them, she became perhaps the first long-term survivor of childhood leukemia. Although a cure was never mentioned, her visits to Burchenal became less frequent. In 1969, she had her first child, and she now teaches at a school in New Jersey.

    The story of childhood leukemia did not end in 1954. In that year, Debbie was a lucky exception. To reach the nearly 80% cure rate of childhood leukemia seen today, doctors have had to marshal up to 12 drugs, used in complex combinations, and add transfusions and radiation therapy. But the drugs that gave doctors hope that this fast-moving disease was even worth tackling were the ones that cured Debbie Brown–the “antimetabolites”.

  3. I would assume that all efforts to search out “bone marrow” banks have all been done for this little girl.

    In the Chicago area, there is the Children’s Memorial Hospital, which intakes children from just about everywhere, as I can recall.  And I would suspect that this is NOT an isolated case of this nature.  

    I wish I had more concrete suggestions, but I don’t — all I can do is hope that a little girl’s life will, somehow, be saved!

    Thanks for your heart!

    • dennis on March 30, 2009 at 11:33 am

    to donate bone marrow back in the late ’90s, I urge everybody reading this to put yourselves in the bone marrow data bank, and to make a donation if you should come up as someone’s match. You might just wind up saving someone’s life. My dude made it.

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