New Appeal Made for Carew Daughter : Illness: Jesse Jackson visits hospital to pray with family, urge bone marrow donors to step forward.


The 18-year-old daughter of former baseball star Rod Carew was sleeping and didn't hear the prayers of the Rev. Jesse Jackson outside her closed hospital door Sunday.

But the Carew family held hands and bowed their heads in prayer anyway for Michelle Carew, who is being treated for a potentially fatal form of leukemia at Children's Hospital of Orange County.

Afterward, Jackson held a news conference to plead for potential bone marrow donors to step forward and possibly save the life of Michelle Carew or other cancer patients.

Jackson was joined by family members including Michelle's mother, Marilynn Carew, who wept at his words. An old family friend, Jackson was on a business trip in Chicago when he heard about Michelle Carew's plight on the TV news and came to be at her side.

But Michelle, who is hooked up to an oxygen machine and intravenous tubes, is in critical condition and doesn't feel well enough to receive visitors.

"Make yourself available," Jackson pleaded before TV news cameras. "For the life that you save today of your neighbor could . . . save your own child tomorrow. We're all inextricably bound together in this human family. . . . All of our daughters and sons are here."

Hall of Famer Rod Carew said he was buoyed by the presence of Jackson, president of the National Rainbow Coalition in Washington.

"When you know someone but don't see them that often, and you get a call they're ready to come and visit your children, it's a great feeling," he said.

The family is at Michelle's side around the clock, sleeping in a trailer home outside the hospital. Carew and his wife spent their 25th wedding anniversary at their daughter's side; they also celebrated her 18th birthday in the hospital. Michelle's sisters, Charryse, 22, and Stephanie, 20, take turns reading aloud more than 450 letters sent to her by supporters.

"Sometimes we bug her," Carew said with a small smile, "when she'd rather sleep."

Jackson's support, family members said, brings visibility to more than 2,000 cancer patients nationwide who are waiting for bone marrow matches.

Sunday, the Carew family attended a bone marrow testing drive at Elsa Farmer Market in Anaheim. The event was the third held in Michelle Carew's name since she was hospitalized in September. So far, more than 700 people have stepped forward for testing.

Potential donors give two tablespoons of blood, which determines whether the person's bone marrow is compatible with anyone awaiting a match (Information: [800] MARROW2).

More than 1.8 million potential donors are listed in the National Marrow Donor program, but none of them match the type needed by Michelle. She has only a 20% chance of finding a match. The survival rate for bone marrow transplant patients ranges from 30% to 60%.

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