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Jasmina: New York City's princess takes a turn for the worse

Maryam Abdul-Aleem | 4/12/2011, 4:40 p.m.

Hundreds of people rallied around the "One for Jasmina" bone marrow drive to save the young kindergartner who suffered from an aggressive form of leukemia, but now the city's little princess is suffering once again: Jasmina's cancer has returned and is growing rapidly.

"Things have taken a turn for the worse," Jasmina's mother, Theodora Anema, told the Amsterdam News. "She developed graft-versus-host disease [rejection of donor cells] and her leukemia is back and growing very rapidly.

"We are home but spend every other day in the hospital," she said.

The doctors want to try a combination of drugs that have only been tried on adults and at this point, Anema said, it is going to be a difficult road ahead.

"I have high confidence in the doctor who is treating her, but it is truly not going to be easy."

Jasmina has faced setback after setback.

She has had heavy doses of chemotherapy, suffered numerous infections, had shingles and then had her cancer go in and out of remission.

New York City's princess has been through what many adults will never have to experience, yet to this day is still graceful and strong-willed.

And things looked so hopeful just a few weeks ago.

Jasmina's mom sent out an e-mail message when Jasmina had been home from the hospital for 48 hours after spending months in the hospital waiting, and then recovering, from the near-perfect bone marrow transplant.

Updating Jasmina's progress, Anema was delighted that she could finally give Jasmina hugs, she told the Amsterdam News. "Now she is laughing," Anema wrote, "playing dress-up, dancing and doing Wii Sports. It is so incredible to see her dancing again."

But after being home and hopeful of Jasmina's recovery, now Anema is hoping for a miracle. A recent biopsy showed that the new donor cells were rejected by Jasmina's body.

There was always a looming chance that the near-perfect donor match's cells could reject Jasmina's body, but her family was always optimistic.

Now things have taken a turn for the worse.

"It is going to be very difficult and we would need a miracle at this point," Jasmina's mom said.