*Jasmina Anema, the 6-year-old girl whose fight against leukemia drew the support of pop star Rihanna, President Obama and thousands of others around the country, has died.
“Today, January 27, at 10:55 p.m., Jasmina lost her fight against leukemia,” her mother, Thea Anema, wrote on the Caring Bridge blog she launched to keep well-wishers informed of Jasmina’s progress.
The news sent shockwaves throughout the community that had rallied around the little girl who had inspired a worldwide public campaign to find bone-marrow donors, reports People.com.
President Obama released the following statement: “It is with great sadness today that Michelle and I extend our condolences on the passing of Jasmina Anema. Jasmina showed tremendous bravery in the face of adversity, and her ability to stay positive throughout her battle was an inspiration to me and to all those she touched. As the parents of two young girls, our hearts particularly go out to Jasmina’s devoted mother Thea. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and with all who knew and loved Jasmina.”
Jasmina received a bone marrow transplant last year when a near-perfect match was found. But in September, her leukemia had returned. Jasmina was also suffering from graft-versus-host disease, when new cells attack the recipient’s body, making it all the more difficult to combat the cancer.
Through it all, though, Jasmina remained positive and upbeat. In her final year, she managed to hang out in her hospital room with Rihanna, and in December she met President Obama.
Jasmina was admitted to NYU Langone Medical Center on Monday night suffering from fevers and shortness of breath. She was subsequently diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs.
By Wednesday night, things took a turn for the worse. Thea’s best friend Karen Detrick, the mother of Jasmina’s best friend, Isabelle Hurrman, wrote at 6:43 p.m.: “Jasmina’s antibiotics are not working so her lungs are filling up with fluids. Her situation right now is critical. The doctors are trying to get the situation under control but Thea will have to make a difficult decision if this does not work.”
At 10:55 p.m. Wednesday night, Jasmina passed away.
People.com first reported on Jasmina’s plight last February, when Rihanna made a public plea for bone-marrow donors to come forward. As a result, celebrities including Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams, NBA star Paul Pierce and others joined the drive to find donors, as did others around the country.