Lopez seeks bone marrow Donors for woman
Updated: 2006-02-11 11:32
NEW YORK - Actress-singer Jennifer Lopez is using her starpower to rally
support for a fellow Latina who is suffering from blood cancer. Lopez, 36, is
urging Hispanics in New York City to donate blood marrow to help Janet Ovalles,
a 29-year-old of Dominican descent who needs a transplant from a matching donor
designer Jennifer Lopez, greets the crowd at the fall 2006 show of the
Sweet Face during Fashion Week, Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 in New York.
"I am a young Hispanic woman, so is Janet. I could empathize with her
situation so much," Lopez said in a statement released Friday by DKMS, the bone
marrow donor center that is organizing donor drives for Ovalles.
"These things just make you realize that we're all interconnected and depend
on one another," said Lopez, who is of Puerto Rican descent.
Doctors say that a bone marrow transplant is Ovalles' only chance for
recovery ¡ª and the most suitable matches are from people of the same ethnic
But with Hispanics sharply underrepresented in the pool of registered donors,
the prognosis is bleak. For Ovalles, there was no match in her family or among
the 10 million registered donors worldwide.
"I am a walking time bomb," Ovalles said in a recent interview. "If I don't
find a donor, I will die."
With Lopez calling attention to her cause, Ovalles hopes to find a matching
donor at bone marrow drives Feb. 24-25.
"It's been very hard to recruit Hispanic bone marrow
donors, but with Jennifer's help we really feel we can get the Hispanic
community on board," said Katharina Harf, head of DKMS.