Rihanna Urges Fans to Help Save 11-year-old Broadway Star's Life

We recently told you about 11-year-old Broadway star Shannon Tavarez's cancer fight and her search for a bone marrow donor. Now Rihanna is urging her fans to help. Here is the announcement:

At just eleven-years-old Shannon Tavarez 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 over 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 Schneider Children's Hospital in Long Island where she receives daily chemotherapy treatments. A bone marrow transplant from a stranger may be her only chance at survival.

When Rihanna heard about Shannon's plight, she had to do something. "Being a performer myself I know what it's like to be given the opportunity of a lifetime at a young age and I would have been destroyed if that was taken away from me," said Rihanna. "Shannon deserves to live and share her beautiful voice with the world."

The superstar, an avid advocate for children, has a long history of working with DKMS, whose mission is to save lives by recruiting bone marrow donors for leukemia patients. "When I listened to Shannon's voice, I got really sad. Her voice is so beautiful. She should be performing on Broadway, but she is confined to her bed, fighting for her life. Shannon needs to find a bone marrow donor to survive. I urge all my fans to register with DKMS," said Rihanna.

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 seventeen percent of African Americans in need of a transplant will receive one.

Every day thousands of patients search the national registry in hope for a bone marrow donor match. Sadly 6 out of 10 patients 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."

To register to become a bone marrow donor and save Shannon or other leukemia patients go to www.getswabbed.org You must be between18 and 55 and in good general health. When you register with DKMS, you will also be listed on the Be The Match Registry (operated by the NMDP) and can be found as a donor match for any patient in need of a bone marrow transplant. "Becoming a donor starts with a cheek swab. But you have to be committed to donate because once you're a match for a patient; you could be their only chance. It's the most beautiful thing someone could do - to give the gift of life," said Rihanna.

The cost to DKMS for registering a new potential bone marrow donor is $65. DKMS does not make paying the fee mandatory, but we depend on public donations and appreciate any contribution. We are grateful for every dollar.
Go here to register

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