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Child with rare cancer in need of marrow

July 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A three-day blood drive and bone marrow registration effort began Wednesday on behalf of a 14-month-old Reseda girl with a rare form of cancer. She greets everyone that walks through the door.

"She is bubbly and vivacious. She is everything a 1-year-old should be," said Nicole Zicree, Allison's mom.

Beside days filled with hugs and kisses, 14-month-old Allison Zicree undergoes chemotherapy at least 10 hours a day at Kaiser Permanente's Woodland Hills Medical Center.

"She has a acute megakaryocytic leukemia which is a very rare kind of leukemia," said Dr. Susan Storch, the hospital's chief of pediatric oncology.

Her mom, Nicole, knew something was very wrong when her energetic toddler could hardly move following three days of fever.

"She wasn't doing the things that she normally does. When I put her down in her crib one night the next morning she was exactly where I left her," said Zicree.

Acute megakaryocytic leukemia usually strikes children with Down syndrome, but when it occurs in kids without Down's it behaves aggressively.

"Survival rates in those children is anywhere from zero to 10 percent with conventional chemotherapy," said Dr. Storch.

Allison's leukemia has to be in remission in order to go forward with a bone marrow transplant.

"That is her only hope for survival. She needs to get that transplant," said Zicree.

The only problem is finding a match. Allison does not have any siblings. Thanks to daily blogs the word is getting out. A steady flow of volunteers have been going to Kaiser Woodland Hills to register their marrow.

"When I saw it on the news this morning I new it would be apart of my agenda today. And I came down," said Sandy Gray, a potential donor.

"I would definitely donate my bone marrow in a second for her," said Laura Strong, a potential donor.

"Those are our hopes and prayers, whether it is in this drive or another one, that we find a match for her," said Zicree.

A blood drive only will be conducted at the Blood Donor Center of Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles, 1515 N. Vermont Ave., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. Additional information is available by calling (323) 783-6667.

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