'Rihanna's Girl': Clock Ticks for Marrow Donor

Jasmina and her mother are working with DKMS, the world's largest marrow donor center, to enlist donors from the general population at upcoming events in New York, Boston, Oakland and Dallas. They are targeting African Americans whose HLA types can help Jasmina, but recruitment is difficult.

"There are several reasons why [minorities] don't donate: distress in the health care system, fear of the actual procedure and not enough education about being a donor," said Katharina Harf, co-founder of Germany-based DKMS.

The organization, which has 1.8 million donors worldwide, has set up offices in the United States to recruit more minority donors, particularly those who are Hispanic.

Bone Marrow Donation Simple

In reality, becoming a bone marrow donor is simple: genetic typing is done with just a swab inside the cheek. The information is placed in a computerized national data bank where doctors can look for a patient match.

Donating a bone marrow is not complicated or painful. In most cases, stem cells are collected from donor blood; 20 to 30 percent of the time, bone marrow is withdrawn from the hip, not spine, in an out-patient procedure done under anesthesia.

Campaign Yields 7,000 Potential Donors

"We could be lucky if we found one match in 20,000, and if we're not lucky, a rare type might be one in several million," Harf told ABCNews.com.

Since the celebrity-driven campaign began, Jasmina's cause has attracted 7,000 African- Americans to register as donors, some of whom might eventually be a match after more testing. These donors could also potentially help other African Americans.

DKMS helped to create the video, "ONE For Jasmina," which initially caught the attention of Rihanna. The video is narrated by the girl's best friend, Isabelle Huurman, whose father, like Jasmina's mother, is from The Netherlands.

The girls -- both African Americans with white families --- have been friends since they were 2 years old. Their mothers met at a party and discovered they had adopted daughters, four months apart, from the same agency. They learned Chinese at the same pre-school and both speak Dutch.

Anema, who is a fashion designer and single mother, adopted Jasmina when the girl was 3 days old. The child's racial make-up is three-quarters black and one-quarter Cherokee Indian and Caucasian.

Jasmina has always been a healthy child until Jan. 20, when her mother took her to the doctor for what seemed a minor infection on her foot. "It looked like a bug bite, which is rare in the winter," said Anema. "It started swelling and itching and so I went by the pediatrician."

Doctor: 'Hop in Taxi Right Now'

The doctor felt an enlarged spleen and liver and did a blood test. When she found Jasmina's white blood cell count was high, she sent her directly to the hospital. "She said hop in the taxi right now and go there," said Anema.

Mother and daughter have lived at the hospital ever since. Chemotherapy treatments have caused Jasmina to develop painful mouth sores. She wears a cap-like wig with long braids to compensate for the hair that has fallen out.

"You just live in surreal world, saying to yourself, 'This is not happening,' she said. "But it's not difficult just for me, it's difficult for a lot of people," said Anema, who hopes to raise awareness to help all ethnic groups find bone marrow matches.

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