9-year-old Indian American girl battling leukemia needs bone marrow donor

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Nine-year-old Indian American girl Anya LeFrancis from Chester, New Jersey, is urgently in need of a bone marrow donor of mixed heritage for a full match transplant that must take place by May 2017 to save her life.

Out of 25 million registered donors, the bone marrow transplant team at Hackensack University Medical Center did not find one full match, according to an email by her father Robert LeFrancis. Anya’s unique heritage makes it even more difficult to find a perfect match from the donor registries – Anya is part Caucasian/European and part Indian. Only 3 percent of registered donors are of mixed race, and of that 3 percent, finding her mix of heritage in a donor is very challenging, the email said.

The fourth grader is battling leukemia, and doctors believe her best chance at recovery is a bone marrow transplant. She was first diagnosed in kindergarten and went into remission in third grade. During this school year, Anya began complaining of pain again, and on Jan. 11, doctors diagnosed her with relapsed leukemia.

After trying chemotherapy, doctors began treating Anya with a new investigational immunotherapy drug. She will need a bone marrow transplant afterward, and her parents are asking people to sign up as donors through DMKS, a bone marrow donation registry.

“It is unknown at this time if there will be a match at the registry, but we are trying to get as many people to sign up as possible using the link posted on her page,” Anya’s mom, Pratibha LeFrancis, told Patch.

A Facebook page posting updates about Anya and encouraging others to register as bone marrow donors, is named for her close relationship with dad Robert LeFrancis and her determination: Princess Anya The Overcomer. The page focuses on the positive aspects of life with cancer, like watching birds from the window, or receiving Valentine’s from classmates at Bragg Middle School.

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