I’m sad to report that the adorably sweet and feisty 11-year-old actress, Shannon Tavarez, who played Young Nala in ‘The Lion King’ on Broadway, lost her battle with acute myeloid leukemia after not being able to find a matching bone-marrow donor.
PopEater reports that Shannon’s story “drew the attention of numerous celebrities, including Alicia Keys and Rihanna, who led campaigns to find a bone-marrow match for Tavarez.” Indeed, much of Broadway came out for the multiple bone-marrow donation drives in her honor this summer, when two of Shannon’s cast members appeared on The Wendy Williams Show to appeal for the public’s help.
According to PopEater, “Doctors were unable to find a match for a bone-marrow transplant, so as an alternative she received umbilical-cord blood treatment in August.” I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of a fellow performer who clearly had a wonderful life ahead of her.
As you know, Shannon is not alone in her struggle with leukemia. CBS reports that at least 10,000 people joined the Bone Marrow Registry in an effort to help Shannon find a match. According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, “an estimated 259,889 people in the United States are living with, or are in remission from, leukemia,” and “about 31 percent of cancers in children aged 0-14 years are leukemia.” If you’d like to get swabbed to become a bone-marrow donor, visit the Bone Marrow Registry, or getswabbed.org.