Star Raven-Symone Issues Call For Marrow Donors At San Diego Heritage Day Festival

Actress-singer RAVEN-SYMONE is lending her star power to raise awareness for the need for bone marrow donors at the 15th Annual San Diego Annual Heritage Day Festival and Parade, taking place on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2006.

Event organizers have selected five-year old KAYLA SMITH, a patient desperately in need of a bone marrow transplant, as the 2006 parade Grand Marshal. Immediately following the parade, the San Diego Blood Bank Stem Cell Donor Center, in partnership with the Emilio Nares Foundation, will hold a drive in Kayla’s honor. The drive will be held at Market Creek Plaza-(SD 92113, Market & Euclid just south of the Trolley Station).

“Kayla’s a fighter,” says Raven. “She and her family have been searching for a donor for a long time yet it hasn’t crushed her spirit. She’s a bright, bubbly little girl who is filled with hopes and dreams, and I’m happy to work with her and her family to spread the word about her need so that she gets the chance to make her dreams come true.”

Kayla was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2001 but with treatments her Leukemia went into remission. After suffered a relapse, she and her family are working closely with the National Marrow Donor Program to find an unrelated marrow or stem cell donor because no one in her family has been identified as a viable match.

“While there have been millions of potential donors who have registered, there remains a critical need for Black and African-American donors,” said Dr. Jeffrey Chell, CEO of the National Marrow Donor Program. “Black and African- American patients have a greater chance of finding a donor from within the Black and African-American community. It is amazing that the city of San Diego and event organizers have chosen Kayla as this year’s Grand Marshal, publicizing the need for more donors while honoring the courage she and her family displays as they wait for a donor to provide a life saving transplant. And with Raven Symone’s help, we may be able to find a donor for Kayla that much sooner.”

For more information about The Heritage Day Festival and Parade, visit: http://www.heritagedayparade.org .

For more information about the NMDP, call 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit on-line at http://www.marrow.org .

Via PRNewswire

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