A Young Girl’s Need For a Bone Marrow Transplant Requires More Black Donors

July 8, 2011  |  

What were you doing in the fifth grade?

You were probably getting excited about your first forays into organized school sports, joining some cliques, getting excited about the impending coolness of junior high school soon. But chances are, you weren’t going through hell and back trying to find a bone marrow donor.

11-year-old Imani Cornelius was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome almost two years ago. The syndrome is a blood and bone marrow disease that if not treated with a bone marrow transplant, can one day develop into full blown leukemia. Imani’s form is mild at the moment. Being bi-racial, with a white mother and black father, finding a donor who matches her makeup has proven to be difficult. Add to that the fact that there is a noticeable lack of black donors in the registry, who could probably be the match she needs since one can usually be found through an individual of a similar ethnic background. But at the moment, the chance of a white person finding a match on the Be The Match Registry is almost 93 percent, while for African Americans and other minorities, the low can reach 66 percent.

Currently, Imani is doing the things she should as a funky fifth grader: playing soccer, doing dance. But in order for her to continue to do these things with no problem, this little girl needs a donor. So more African American donors are being asked to step up and make a difference.

To here more of Imani’s story, including Tionne T-Boz Watkins’ role in it, check out AOL Black Voices.

To also find out what you can do to help, make sure you visit the National Marrow Donor Program’s website.

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