'Lion King' cast unites to find actress marrow donor

July 23, 2010 (NEW YORK)

Last year, 11-year-old Shannon Tavarez won the coveted role of young Nala in "The Lion King." But then in April she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and began chemotherapy. Her doctors now say that a bone marrow transplant is her best hope for survival.

Today, Tavarez's Lion King cast members are holding a bone marrow drive hoping to find a donor match for Shannon.

"We were all devastated, but we rallied together and found out what needed to be done," said Alvin Crawford, Lion King cast member.

" They're having a drive in the lobby," said Tavarez, "and I hope a lot of people come out because they can save my life or anyone else who's going through what I'm going through."

Doctors are having trouble finding her a match because Shannon is part African-American, and part Hispanic. Of the 7 million Americans listed as potential donors, only 12 percent are minorities.

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