SOURCE: DKMS Americas

DKMS Americas

February 13, 2009 18:12 ET

Thousands Join DKMS and Rihanna in the Fight Against Leukemia

Plea to Help 5-Year-Old Jasmina Anema Has Touched People's Hearts All Over the World

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 13, 2009) - DKMS, the world's largest bone marrow donor center, and pop sensation, Rihanna, joined forces again to help save the life of five-year-old Jasmina Anema.

Jasmina's world changed drastically on January 20th, when she found out she was suffering from a rare and aggressive form of acute leukemia. Her only chance for survival is a bone marrow transplant, which she urgently needs.

Jasmina is receiving an outpouring of support and even pop-sensation Rihanna wanted to help right away when she heard about her story. "When I saw the video of Jasmina it broke my heart. It is so unfair that for a black patient it's so much harder to find a bone marrow match," said Rihanna.

Rihanna has been an amazing advocate of DKMS. She first stepped forward to help find a match for Lisa Flynn, who received a bone marrow transplant nearly one year ago. More than 5,000 donors came forward when they learned about Lisa's situation and Rihanna's call to action.

"Rihanna's plea to help find a donor match for Jasmina, one of her greatest fans, has spurred more than 3,000 people to register in just a few days, to help save this beautiful girl's life and others like her," said Katharina Harf, EVP, DKMS Americas.

Marcia Williams, wife of soccer player Andy Williams from Real Salt Lake, is another patient who has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant urgently. "Marcia is Jamaican and because of her varied tissue characteristics a life-saving match is very hard to find," stated Harf.

"The support and kindness of individuals who have come out to help has been truly amazing," said Thea, Jasmina's mother. "The thought of not finding a life-saving match for Jasmina and other people in her situation is unacceptable," added Thea. "We need your help more than ever."

Registering to become a bone marrow donor is quick and easy. It consists of completing a registration form and swabbing your cheeks.

A misconception is that donating bone marrow is complicated and painful. There are two ways -- both outpatient procedures -- to donate: 70%-80% of the time, stem cells are collected from the donors' blood, similar to donating plasma, and 20%-30% of the time bone marrow is withdrawn from the hip (not spine) using a special syringe.

Only U.S. residents can register to be added to the National registry. All non-U.S. residents can register with their local donor centers and join the international 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 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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