[MOL] PRESS RELEASE : Vernon, Pink Power Ranger, diagnosed with Leukemia [01110] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] PRESS RELEASE : Vernon, Pink Power Ranger, diagnosed with Leukemia


Date: July 30, 1999

"Fox Television's Pink Power Ranger, Valerie Vernon,
Undergoes Bone Marrow Transplant for Leukemia"

Valerie Vernon, the Pink Power Ranger on Fox-TV's
"Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy" underwent a bone marrow
transplant for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia on July 27,
1999.  The transplant was performed at City of Hope
National Medical Center in Duarte, California under the
care of Dr. Stephen Forman.

Dr. Forman, the director of the bone marrow transplant
program at City of Hope, recently performed a bone
marrow transplant for another celebrity - Anaheim
Mighty Ducks' hockey player Milos Holan.  Holan, whose
transplant took place just two years ago, is now back
playing hockey in his native Czech Republic.

The news of Vernon's serious illness came as a shock to
entire cast and staff of "Power Rangers" who are
currently in the middle of production for the Fall
season.  "Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy" is broadcast
widely around the world and is the number-one live
action kids program in the United States.

On May 13, 1999, Vernon, 23, collapsed on the set while
walking back to her dressing room after shooting a
scene.  Vernon was taken to a local medical clinic
where she was originally diagnosed with an ear
infection.  Ironically on the same day, Valerie
struggled to gather enough energy to greet a handful of
seriously ill children, some battling Leukemia, who
were visiting the set through the Starlight Foundation.

Further tests on May 17, 1999 at Motion Picture
Hospital in Woodland Hills, California determined the
unthinkable - that cancer of the blood and bone marrow,
Leukemia, had infiltrated the young and healthy
Vernon.  Vernon spent the following five weeks after
the leukemia diagnosis undergoing chemotherapy
which put in the cancer into remission.  However,
Vernon's fiancée, Christopher Ng, spoke to the
directors of some of the most renown cancer centers in
the country, including City of Hope and learned that
cancer, without further treatment, would soon return.
"All of the doctors that I spoke to agreed that Valerie
needed a bone marrow transplant in order to survive.
The doctors also all agreed that the transplant needed
to take place immediately before the cancer relapsed."

Vernon's best chance for a donor match, her one brother
Michael, luckily was a complete match and was the donor
for the transplant.  There is only a 25% chance that a
sibling will be eligible to be a marrow donor for
another sibling.

Though Vernon was fortunate to have a bone marrow
donor, many others will never find a donor at all.  At
first , Saban, Inc.,  the creator and producer of
"Power Rangers", expressed their desire to keep
Vernon's condition under wraps - likely to not scare
young fans of the show and not disturb the rangers'
heir of  invincibility.  However, Vernon's desire to
share her story in order to encourage, comfort, and
support other cancer patients, especially children,
persuaded Saban to allow Vernon to publicize her
battle.  News of Vernon's illness broke last week and
spread quickly among at least twenty-two websites
dedicated to Vernon and her character "Kendrix" - The
Pink Ranger.  "Valerie has decided to share her story
with the world not only to support and encourage others
with cancer but also to encourage others to sign up for
the national marrow donor registry to potentially save
a life," Ng said.  Vernon has already donated
autographed toys and pictures to raise money for some
local chapters of the American Cancer Society.  For
more information on how you can become a marrow donor,
contact City of Hope at (626) 359-8111 or call the
National Marrow Donor Program at 1-800-MARROW-2.

Additional Contacts:

For Valerie Vernon:
        e-mail (Christopher Ng):

For the National Marrow Donor Program:

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