Help A Young Girl LIVE Her Dream…11-Year Old Broadway Star Urgently Needs a Bone Marrow Donor To Survive

Come out on Sunday, July 18 and on Friday, July 23 and register with DKMS
Be the match for Shannon and help save a life!

At just eleven-years-old Shannon Tavarez (a native of Queens) already had a promising Broadway career performing four shows a week as Young Nala in DISNEY’S The Lion King. Shannon juggled a full day of school before rushing to the Minskoff Theatre – – she was living her dream. Now, just two months later, Shannon’s dream is simply to grow up and return to her normal life. In April, Shannon was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. The talented young star was performing on stage when the symptoms first hit. Her lower back and legs suddenly started hurting making it difficult for her to perform or even walk. “When I found out, it hit me really hard, like someone was throwing a ball at me. It was shocking and I thought, why me?” said Shannon.

Now, Shannon lives at Cohen Children’s Medical Centerl in Long Island where she receives daily chemotherapy treatments. A bone marrow transplant from a stranger may be her only chance at survival. DKMS, together with The Lion King, Disney Theatrical Productions and Shannon’s family and friends are organizing two bone marrow drives in New York City: Sunday July 18, 10AM-4PM (*St. Malachy’s – The Actors’ Chapel, Encore Senior Center, 239 West 49th Street) and Friday, July 23, 10AM-3PM (Broadway’s *Minskoff Theatre, home of Disney’s The Lion King, 200 West 45th Street). Come out and register with DKMS and meet the cast and crew of The Lion King on July 23.

Shannon’s mother is African-American and her father is Dominican. Only eight percent of the seven million registered donors are African-American, which means that only 17 percent of African Americans in need of a transplant will actually receive one.

Every day, thousands of patients search the national registry in hope of a bone marrow donor match. Sadly, six out of 10 patients will never receive a transplant. “We have to fight harder. I feel like it’s my obligation to do whatever I can do recruit more donors,” states Katharina Harf, Co-founder, DKMS Americas, “I lost my mother to leukemia, but others can live if we only had enough donors. Register with DKMS today so Shannon doesn’t have to keep her dream waiting.”

Registering to become a bone marrow donor starts with a simple cheek swab; it is a commitment to help save a life. Donors must be between 18 and 55 and in good general health and meet the eligibility requirements. Upon completion of a simple registration form, prospective donors will receive a swab (with a cotton-tip) of the inside the cheek to collect cheek cells which identify HLA tissue-type. If prospective donors are found to be a match, a DKMS representative will contact them to answer an extended health questionnaire. At that point, a scheduled blood test and physical examination will ultimately determine if those candidates are in fact, the best suitable donors. When prospective donors register with DKMS, they will also be listed on the national registry (operated by the NMDP) and to be a possible donor match for any patient in need of a bone marrow transplant.

To register as a bone marrow donor with DKMS and watch Shannon’s emotional PSA visit www.getswabbed.org

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