Nelly Encourages Minorities To Become Bone-Marrow Donors

Rapper's sister Jackie suffers from leukemia, needs bone-marrow transplant to survive.

Nelly's leading a crusade to encourage minorities to become bone-marrow donors.

On Saturday in his hometown of St. Louis, the rapper appeared at an event to enroll minority participants in the National Bone Marrow Registry. Sponsored by his "4 Sho 4 Kids" nonprofit organization, Nelly's campaign is named after his sister Jackie, who suffers from leukemia and is depending on a bone-marrow transplant for survival.

The "Jes Us 4 Jackie" events over the weekend in St. Louis and Los Angeles brought in about 1,200 new registrants, a heavy percentage of whom are black, Nelly's publicist said. There are currently 4 million Americans listed in the National Bone Marrow Registry, and fewer than 400,000 of those are black. Bone-marrow matching goes beyond blood type, and a recipient will have the most success with marrow from a donor of a similar ethnic makeup.

The more ethnically mixed a recipient is, the more difficult it will be to find a suitable donor, which was why the "Jes Us 4 Jackie" event encouraged all minorities to register, Nelly's publicist said.

Jackie Donahue, 30, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2001. Registrants on Saturday included Ashley Donahue, Nelly's 20-year-old sister, and Nelly himself.

The rapper has a busy summer ahead of him. In addition to four more "Jes Us 4 Jackie" registration drives, including ones in New York, New Orleans and Detroit, Nelly's on tour and he's also preparing to launch his clothing line for women, Apple Bottoms. While anonymous posteriors currently grace Apple Bottoms billboards in urban markets, like the one in Brooklyn, New York's street-fashion mecca the Fulton Mall, Nelly is on a six-city look-out for the "Apple Bottoms girl." She'll be picked in Las Vegas on August 25, selected from finalists representing New York, St. Louis, Atlanta, Miami, Houston and Los Angeles.