Save Kenza: Little Girl with Leukemia Spreads Awareness, Hope

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DALLAS -- It's been three months since Henna and Omar Durani got what may be the worst news parents of a young child can get.

"I was like there's no way," Henna recalls. "She's nine months old, she doesn't even have teeth - how can she have cancer?"

Little Kenza was diagnosed with Leukemia; saving her life would take a bone marrow transplant.

Unlike blood, bone marrow is part of the immune system, so it requires a very specific match - usually be found within the recipient's ethnicity.

But because of Kenza's unique mixed ethnicity, no one in the donor registry was a match.  A problem that's all-too-common with people of minority and mixed heritages.

Henna and Omar teamed up with an organization called DKMS to expand the registry among their ethnic communities, and search for a match for Kenza.

"Bone marrow drives in synagogues, mosques, temples, churches," Henna told NewsFix.  "Three months later we have 3,000 people signed up."

Still, no match for Kenza.  So now, they're going to try an experimental procedure at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.  Doctors will use stem cells from Omar - Kenza's father - even though he's only a half-match.

"Now we have ways that we can actually utilize parents as donors," said Dr. Tiffany Simms-Waldrip, the Durani's physician, "and manipulate the cells a little bit so that we can use them and not have complications."

Yeah, so there may be light at the end of this dark tunnel for Baby Kenza.

And the Duranis hope her story inspires others - especially those in minority communities - to add to the donor registry.

"It's an easy thing to do," said Omar. "All it takes is a ten-second swab of your cheek."

Said Henna: "Once Kenza's home and good, we're still going to host these drives in her name and continue to do this to help other people."

You can visit DKNS.org to order a free kit, and add yourself to the donor registry.  You may save a life just like Kenza's.