This week, a light went out on Broadway. Shannon Tavarez, the phenomenal eleven year old who beat out hundreds of other talented child actors to snag the role of young Nala in the Broadway production of Disney's "The Lion King", sadly could not beat cancer. She succumbed to Leukemia on Monday November 1st. Before her death, she campaigned with industry super stars like Rhianna and Alicia Keys to educate people on the process of becoming a bone marrow donor with hopes of finding a match that could save her life. Even a 9 out of 10 match could be rejected and it's especially difficult for people of mixed heritage to find a perfect donor. Despite their efforts, a match could not be found in time.
No one deserves to have this horrible disease. It's critical to expand the donor registry and I encourage everyone to consider becoming a bone-marrow donor. The process of donating has become much less invasive over the years due to medical advancements. A simple cheek swab is all it takes to be put on the donation registry.
This weekend, The Virginia Basketball Academy and the National Bone Marrow Transplant Program will be raising money for bone marrow testing and research with a weekend of Basketball. "The Great American Basketball Marrowthon" is being held on November 6 and 7 at Albemarle High School from 1:00-7:00pm. All proceeds benefit the NMDP and the VBA.
Last year the event netted $10,000 and registered 156 new potential bone marrow donors to the "Be the Match" registry. Organizers are hoping to exceed that amount this year. They can add one more: ME.
Definitely do your research before committing. If you are called up as a match and then decide to back out, valuable time will be wasted. Here's FAQ's about donating bone marrow. You could be a hero for someone.