Bone Marrow Donor Drive for 13-year-old Leukemia Survivor

Bone Marrow Donor Drive for 13-year-old Leukemia Survivor

Shynia Milligan's family is coordinating the bone marrow drive at Almas Temple, on K Street in Washington, D.C.

Shynia Milligan

Shynia Milligan

Thirteen-year-old Shynia Milligan was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) in the summer of 2010. AML is a life-threatening blood cancer.


Bone Marrow Donor Drive

Saturday, March 3, 2012, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Almas Temple at 1315 K Street, NW, Washington DC 20005

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In the summber of 2010, Shynia traveled to the Washington, D.C. area to visit her father and step-mother. Octavius and Jennifer Milligan enrolled Shynia in a Christian summer day camp so she could meet other children her age in the area.

After two trips to the emergency room following fainting episodes at camp, and being told to keep up her fluid intake because of the heat, Shynia fainted while grocery shopping with her grandmother. Fire department personnel, who happened to be in the store, provided first aid and transported her again to the emergency room.

Jennifer Milligan met Shynia and her grandmother there, and asked the nurse to run all tests. The nurse came back and stated that the tests indicated that Shynia's red blood count was extremely low and that her white blood count was extremely high. Jennifer said, "The nurse explained she was almost positive it was Leukemia. My heart sank, I called my husband and told him to leave work and advised him of what the nurse had just explained to me."

“Our hope with this bone marrow drive is to raise awareness and engage our community to help save lives. The drive will help to benefit ALL of the babies, children and adults who are currently awaiting a bone marrow transplant. We encourage everyone to attend this event!”

– Octavius & Jennifer Milligan

Shynia was taken to Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., that evening. The doctors ran tests and confirmed the previous nurse’s suspicion that Shynia had AML. They performed a lumbar puncture and also placed the Brovaic catheter for delivery of IV medications.


Every day thousands of patients search for a bone marrow donor match. Only four out of 10 patients are receive a transplant. “I lost my mother to leukemia when I was 14,” said Katharina Harf, chief operating officer of DKMS Americas, “and I have made it my mission to recruit more donors so that other families don’t have to go through the pain we did. We need your help so we can save more lives.”

Registering to become a bone marrow donor is more than a cheek swab; it is a commitment to help save a life. Donors must be between 18 and 55 and in good general health. When a potential donor register with DKMS, they are volunteering as a donor match for any patient in need of a bone marrow transplant.

Registering one potential bone marrow donor costs DKMS $65. Because DKMS does not require new donors to pay the registration fee and does not receive government funding, DKMS must rely on donations from the general public to fund donor registrations.

About DKMS

Our mission is to fight blood cancer and save lives by recruiting bone marrow donors for patients in need. We are the world's largest bone marrow donor center, with more than three million registered donors. More than 29,000 of our donors have helped save lives by donating their bone marrow. DKMS Americas is a 501 (c)(3) non profit organization.

For more information about DKMS and to learn more about registering as a bone marrow donor, please visit http://www.GetSwa...">

Jennifer Milligan said, "Shynia was brought back to her room to be around family after recovery. As the nurse was talking to my husband, I noticed Shynia shivering and shaking. Because this was not the usual cold chills after surgery, the nurse checked her pulse and immediately started calling for someone else to look at her."

She added, "Before we could comprehend what was happening, they asked everyone to leave the room but my husband and Shynia's mother. There were several doctors in the room attempting to stabilize her after discovering her heart rate was extremely low. After stabilizing Shynia, her doctors came to the conclusion that Shynia had developed an infection."

Shynia stabilized and began her fight against leukemia. Shynia met a lot of great people while she was in the hospital. She even received a MAC NotebookAir that someone had donated to the hospital.

In February 2011, the doctors determined Shynia was in remission. After returning home with her mom, Shynia went back to school and was able to be a kid again. Shynia continued attending her checkups as scheduled and everything seemed to be going well. While in remission, Shynia contributed to several different cancer fundraisers and participated in walks.

The first week of November, Shynia went for a checkup and the doctors discovered some cancer cells. Shynia is now back in Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C. because her AML has returned.

In order for Shynia to get back to school, cheerleading, rollerskating, church, and the many other activities she enjoyed before leukemia, she needs to find a bone marrow donor as soon as possible.

Shynia's family is teaming up with DKMS to hold a Bone Marrow Drive in the DC Metro area. "My hope is to raise awareness and engage our community to help save lives. This event is very important to me because of my stepdaughter, but also because of all of the babies, children, and adults who are currently awaiting a compatible bone marrow transplant," said Jennifer Milligan.