Tuesday morning, the Dallas Mavericks had to report to the arena two hours earlier than normal because they were scheduled to sign autographs for local charities before their morning practice.
Jason Kidd was the first player to arrive and started signing the 100 or so basketballs like a factory assembly line worker. He was a machine. As he signed, I noticed a large picture button pinned to his chest. The button had a picture of a young girl and a website URL titled www.oneforjasmina.com.
When I asked him about the little girl he started talking like he runs a Mavericks break – fast and furious. He talked so fast about Jasmina that I could barely keep up with what he was saying. Then when he finished he took a breath and pulled a sheet of paper from his pocket.
"Here, I have it all written down in case you missed anything."
What Jason was saying about Jasmina is that she is a beautiful little 6-year-old girl from New York. She was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia on January 20th and is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant to save her life.
Jasmina found out that she had leukemia when she went to the doctor for a toe infection. She was immediately taken to the hospital and has yet to leave.
Through the DKMS registry, Jasmina hopes to find a match to donate blood bone marrow that will help save her life. DKMS is the world's largest marrow donor center with over 1.8 million registered donors. Its goal is to make more marrow donors available to patients around the world who are dealing with leukemia and other blood cancers. DKMS has facilitated more than 16,000 transplants.
“Jasmina has gotten so much attention it is just crazy. She has been in People magazine. Singer Rihanna has been helping her. So we need to keep it going for her and all the other people who might benefit by getting people registered,” states Jason.
If you go to the website, you can watch a video about Jasmina and learn about leukemia and other blood related cancers and how you can help.
Locally, there is a donor drive to be held at NorthPark Center this Sunday, March 29th, from noon till 5:00 pm near Dillard’s. The local drive is also sponsored by DKMS and is being held in honor of Karen Mellow Stock, who is fighting her own battle with leukemia. Karen is a 40-year-old wife and mother of two young children.
Registering for the donor list is simple. It is basically just like the microscope exercise in 7th grade science class. Just scrape your cheeks with a cotton swab. They can do it for you at NorthPark, or you can order your own kit from Jasmina’s website.
Life really is like a Jason Kidd pass…just when you aren’t looking it slaps you upside the head.
I might have missed something specific Jason said during his diatribe, but I didn’t miss what he was really saying!
The message came through loud and clear.
The bottom line, in Jason’s words: “Hey, things like this remind us just how precious our lives really are… one minute we are going along fine and then the next minute you are fighting for your life. So I am going to do everything I can to help her find a match. By raising awareness for Jasmina, it will also help other people find matches by raising awareness about the registry.”
It’s easy to lose track of the real world in the vacuum of sports. This time of year everybody is stressed about staying healthy (in the basketball sense), playing well down the stretch run, wins and losses, and playoff seeds. Everyone has their mind on standings and first round match ups and the championship. Sometimes it might seem that people make this a matter of life-and-death.
In reality, Jasmina, Karen Mellow, and thousands of other leukemia patients really are fighting for their lives, not the 8th playoff seed. Let’s keep our perspective and help them in their struggles.
For us…it is easy, fast, and painless.
Jason will be doing his swab Thursday afternoon after practice. Inside Dish will be there to take pictures and I will post them on friends.mavs.com.
So if you are into cliff notes, and might have missed this obvious plea, or need specific directions spelled out for what we are asking… here they are:
1. Go to www.oneforjasmina.com and learn about Jasmina, leukemia, and becoming part of the national registry.
2. Go to NorthPark Center near Dillard’s on Sunday, March 29th to get a cheek swab for registry. Help Karen Mellow Stock, Jasmina or potentially thousands of other patients.
3. If you cannot make NorthPark Center, order a Do-it-Yourself swab kit from Jasmina’s website and send to DKMS.
4. To learn more about DKMS Americas, contact DKMS Americas at 866.340.3567 or visit online at www.dkmsamericas.org.