CHESTER — It's been quite a year for Anya LeFrancis, who we first profiled in March. Battling leukemia, in June she received a bone marrow transplant, to which she has responded "wonderfully," according to her father. But the search for more donors goes on, and Anya is bringing awareness to that fight this holiday season.

"You also want to be giving back and making the road easier for people that are coming behind you, especially when you have some of the statistics that Anya overcame," Bob LeFrancis said.

As we previously reported, Anya's Western European-South Indian racial makeup is so rare that there are virtually no numbers on file to predict how a match will play out. Her dad said on the donor registry as it currently stands, mixed-race people comprise only about 4 to 5 percent.

And because matches must be so specific to be successful, he said only 1 in 4 people in need of a transplant can actually receive one.

Yet despite those long odds, Anya is thriving. She has been discharged from her transplant team and is doing better than expected in her recovery, and better than the majority of recipients at the point she's at now. Bob and the rest of the family are looking forward to "only good things from here," he said.

One of those good things happened Dec. 10 at iKandi Images Studio in Anya's hometown of Chester: "Princess Anya's Winter Wonderland Party," featuring several Miss New Jersey contestants showing off their crowns, an appearance by Belle from "Beauty and the Beast," and Santa Claus riding past on a fire truck. The bash raised more than $2,000 for the DKMS donor registry.

Perhaps most importantly, Bob said, it also did raise awareness.

"You can actually be the cure for somebody else — you, yourself, and it's not much more difficult than having your blood drawn," he said, emphasizing that this was just the latest in a long list of events in Anya's name for which community businesses pitched in.

DKMS is still accepting donations on Anya's behalf, as well as signups to join the registry, at dkms.org.

The above post is sponsored by Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation, which supports the programs and services of the hospital. Donations to Children's Specialized Hospital Foundation go directly to helping pioneer new specialized care and serve more children in need. To help, or for more information: visit childrens-specialized.org; find Children's Specialized Hospital on Facebook, or follow on it on Twitter.

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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