We cover a lot of medical stories here at FoxNewsHealth.com, and while all of them are important - once in a while, a story comes along that has the ability to touch our lives in a way we never expected. One of those stories, was that of Jasmina Anema, a 6-year-old girl battling a rare form of leukemia. Needless to say, it broke my heart to hear that last night, she lost that battle.
Jasmina had been suffering from NK cell leukemia, a very rare and aggressive form of the disease. Her story touched people across the country and I was so happy to hear that doctors had found a near-perfect match for her in May of 2009. But when a biopsy in September revealed that the cancer had returned, I knew things had taken a horrible turn for the worse. Medicine is truly amazing, but even with all the advances we've made in transplantation, there is always a chance that a patient's body will reject the new organ. In Jasmina's case, she began suffering from graft versus host disease, which meant that the new bone marrow cells from her transplant had started attacking her body. It's a fairly common complication for this kind of transplant, but unfortunately, it can also be a fatal one.
In her short time on this earth, Jasmina inspired so many of us with her courage - from Hollywood to the White House, and everyone in between. Her very public battle with cancer made a difference by putting a face on the importance of becoming a donor. Testing people for bone marrow donation is simple, and you can find out more information by going to DKMSamericas.org. I know this was not an option in little Jasmina's case, but for any soon-to-be parents, you may want to consider umbilical cord blood banking. More and more research is showing the benefits this life-giving blood can have in treating your child, should they suffer from certain diseases later in life.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jasmina's mother, Thea, last March when she visited our studios in her quest to find a matching bone marrow donor. (Click here to watch the video)She is a loving, devoted mother, and my thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.
Heaven welcomed another angel last night when Jasmina Anema left this earth, but her courage will live on inside each and every one of us whose lives she touched with her story.