NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (1010 WINS/AP) — The doctor who treated an 11-year-old girl who played young Nala in “The Lion King” on Broadway says she’s in excellent spirits following a potentially lifesaving procedure.
Shannon Tavarez, who has leukemia, received an umbilical-cord blood transplant on Tuesday at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, on Long Island.
Dr. Joel Brochstein said in a statement Wednesday that there were no complications during the 15-minute procedure and Shannon was in excellent condition.
The transplant followed a week of chemotherapy treatments. Brochstein said the dual purpose of the chemotherapy was to eradicate any remaining leukemia cells in Tavarez and to prevent her immune system from rejecting the stem cells contained in the umbilical cord blood unit.
Brochstein says it will take at least two weeks to tell if the procedure was successful. It is likely that she will remain hospitalized for up to six weeks.
The actress was forced to quit the show in April. Cast members held bone marrow donor registration drives for her last month but a perfect match was not found.