My Daughter’s Battle with Leukemia

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“Maybe this happened to me so I can be a blessing to someone else.”

Less than a month after being diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of Leukemia, these were the words my beautiful daughter Essence uttered to me. I remember marveling at her strength then, and continue to do so today as she preps for yet another round (her third) of chemotherapy.

I share my story, my daughter’s story, because as Essence said, maybe it will be a blessing to someone else.
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My Thoughts…

To my readers….

I have been quite busy the last few weeks dealing with a family crisis. Many of you know my daughter was diagnosed with leukemia last year, so I think that pretty much explains all. My days and nights are usually spent in various emergency rooms and hospitals. Despite this, I am still very much aware of what is going on in the world around me, which is why I am sharing this correspondence I have been having online with a friend. It pretty much sums up how I have been feeling for a while now.
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Jazz Legend Etta James Passes On

Blues singer Etta James, 73, has lost her battle with leukemia. According to friend and manager Lupe De Leon, James, who was diagnose with the disease last year, passed away peacefully this morning at Riverside Community Hospital, surrounded by her husband and two sons.

Etta James was a gospel and jazz prodigy, whose career spanned some 50 years. She is best known for her hit single “At Last,” which resurfaced on the charts in 2009 (49 years after it was originally released) after singer Beyonce Knowles performed it for President Barack Obama and wife Michelle at their Inaugural Ball.

Before her leukemia diagnosis, James was a regular on the touring circuit and was known to put on a great show, despite her advanced age.

British singer Adele, who lists James and Aretha Franklin as her inspirations, told Billboard in a recent interview that “If you were to look up the word singer in the dictionary, you would see Etta’s name there.”

A tweet from the Grammys official twitter page, alludes to a tribute being planned for the singer at this year’s show.

The family has yet to release details about the funeral or possible public memorial.

R.I.P Miss Etta. You were an original.

Rihanna Honored by DKMS

Mary J. Blige, Rihanna and Solange were just a few of the big name celebs who turned out for last night’s DKMS Gala. Rihanna, along with Hearst Magazines publisher Michael Clinton, were honored at the event, which recognizes people who have donated time and energy to bringing attention to victims of leukemia. If you all remember, Rihanna helped several patients seek out bone marrow donors back in 2008 and 2009. One victim, Lisa Flynn, actually found a match after Rihanna publicly asked her fans/the public to register to become donors.

Help Me Live My Dream

Shannon Tavarez, who dazzled audiences on Broadway as young Nala in Disney’s musical adaptation of the “Lion King” was diagnosed with an aggressive from of leukemia this past April. The beautiful 11-year-old is in need of a bone marrow transplant from a genetically matched donor.

According to ABC News, Shannon is part African American and part Hispanic. Both groups are underrepresented in the registry of potential bone marrow donors. According to the National Bone Marrow Program, of the 7 million Americans listed as donors, only 7 percent, or about 550,000, are African-American. Only 3 percent are Hispanic and 2 percent Asian. Shannon has no siblings and the chances of finding a match will prove to be difficult.

So Shannon needs your help to continue to live her dream. Become a bone marrow donor today!

If you register online, or request a kit by email or phone, you will receive a bone marrow donor kit in the mail. The kit consists of:
• One packet of cotton cheek swabs (each packet contains two swabs)
• Instructions on how to collect cheek cells
• Self-addressed mailing packet

In short, you swab the inside of your cheek, and mail the swabs to the lab in the self-addressed mailer. It takes about 4-6 weeks for your tissue to be DNA-typed. Once the typing is completed, you will be entered in the national registry, and you will receive a donor card in the mail.

To get a bone marrow donor kit, please visit

Shannon’s mother remains hopeful. And this is what she had to say about her special little girl:

“She’s an energetic, very intelligent and very articulate girl, full of life. She is always excited, always asking questions and has this infectious spirit and knows how to pull people in. They all fall in love with her. I know—I am her mother—but that’s the thing with her.”

Make a difference! Get your registration kit today and become a bone marrow donor. Help Shannon continue to live her dream…..