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Lion King actress dies from cancer

The 11-year-old actress Shannon Tavarez from Bellerose, who starred in Broadway’s “The Lion King,” died on Monday afternoon after losing the fight to acute myeloid leukemia.

The young singer got the attention and help from various celebrities, including Alicia Keys, Rihanna and 50 Cent, who hosted a donor drive for Tavarez in August.

Despite the various drives that drew thousands of people, doctors were unable to find a bone-marrow match for a transplant.

Finding a bone marrow match for Tavarez was a difficult task even with all the donor drives because her mom is African-American and her dad is Hispanic. Both groups are underrepresented in donor registries and finding donors from Tavarez’s race and ethnicity were key factors in finding a match.

As an alternative, her doctors performed an umbilical-cord blood transplant in mid-August, at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, L.I.

Tavarez had played the part of the lion cub Young Nala for just over six months until she got sick in March and was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

 

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