Young “Lion King” Thespian Gets Blood Transplant

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Jennifer Gonzalez/ NBC Bay Area

An 11-year-old girl with leukemia who played young Nala in "The Lion King" on Broadway has undergone a potentially lifesaving procedure in New York.

Shannon Tavarez received an umbilical-cord blood transplant Tuesday at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, on Long Island.

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The procedure was performed as an alternative to a bone marrow transplant. Her doctor said they were unable to find a perfect bone marrow match for Shannon.

A family friend says Shannon will remain in the hospital under observation while physicians ensure that her body does not reject the blood transplant.

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The actress was forced to quit the show in April. Cast members held a bone marrow donor registration drive for her last month.

Copyright 2010 by Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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