SOURCE: DKMS Americas

DKMS Americas

February 27, 2009 18:08 ET

New York Knicks Player Chris Wilcox Pays Visit to Five-Year-Old Leukemia Patient Jasmina Anema

Star Player Urges People to Register as Bone Marrow Donors

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 27, 2009) - Five-year-old Jasmina Anema, suffering from leukemia, and her best friend Isabelle Huurman recently caught the attention of pop sensation Rihanna. Now other celebrities are following Rihanna in support of DKMS. Chris Wilcox of the NY Knicks recently visited Jasmina in her room at NYU Medical Center.

Bringing Jasmina a build a bear, Wilcox spent the afternoon at her bed side, talking to and helping the smart and funny five-year-old make her bear. Before leaving the hospital, Wilcox said to Jasmina, "I'll be back to check on you."

Jasmina was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia on January 20th, 2009. Her doctors immediately determined her only chance for survival is a bone marrow transplant. Isabelle, Jasmina's best friend, asks everyone in a heartbreaking video to help find the "ONE for Jasmina" -- the perfect donor match.

Both girls are African-Americans being raised by Caucasian families. "The girls are more like sisters than best friends," said Jasmina's mother Thea. "We always imagined that Jasmina and Isabelle would grow up together and be best friends forever."

"I am touched by the support and kindness Chris Wilcox and others have demonstrated to help save Jasmina," stated Katharina Harf, EVP, DKMS Americas. "I urge others to please come out to register so Jasmina can enjoy life with her family and best friend. We need to find Jasmina's life-saver now."

To find a perfect bone marrow donor will be extremely difficult, because African-Americans make up only 8% of the bone marrow registry and have more diverse tissue types.

Dr. William L. Carroll, M.D, Jasmina's doctor at NYU Medical Center, explained that "the problem is that finding a perfect bone marrow donor is difficult because Jasmina has no full siblings. To make matters worse," says Dr. Carroll, "African-Americans are under-represented in the donor base thus finding the perfect match is even harder."

Join DKMS and its supporters in the Fight Against Leukemia. Just ten minutes of your time can help save the life of Jasmina and thousands like her suffering form life-threatening blood cancers, like leukemia.

"There is a misconception that donating bone marrow is a complicated, painful procedure," Harf says. "Actually, there are two ways to donate, and both procedures are outpatient. I think if people know how easy the registration and donation processes are, everyone will sign up," added Harf.

A DONOR DRIVE IN JASMINA'S HONOR IS TAKING PLACE IN MANHATTAN ON SATURDAY, MARCH 7TH BETWEEN 10AM AND 2PM AT PS 41, 116 W 11TH STREET.

Registering to become a bone marrow donor is easy and only takes minutes. Understand your commitment, find out if you are eligible to register and learn about the donation process. Then register on-line.

As a non-profit organization, DKMS relies on the generosity of individuals to help finance the $65 cost DKMS pays to tissue type each donor who registers. Donations are voluntary. Donate today! 100% of your donation will be used to register donors and add them on the National Registry.

About DKMS

DKMS was founded in Germany in 1991 by Peter Harf and Professor Dr. Gerhard Ehninger, after Peter lost his wife, Mechtild, to acute leukemia. Today, DKMS is the world's largest and most successful bone marrow donor center with over 1.8 million registered donors. Since its founding, DKMS has facilitated more than 16,000 transplants.

The mission of DKMS is to give every blood cancer patient a second chance at life. We work with patients and their families to organize bone marrow donors drive to recruit donors from every race and ethnicity. We inspire hope and healing by matching our donors with patients around the world in need of a bone marrow transplant.

DKMS Americas is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.

For more information about DKMS and to learn more about registering as a bone marrow donor, please visit www.dkmsamericas.org

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