MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Inspired by a young friend who died from leukemia, singer Rihanna is working to get help for those who suffer from the disease.
Rihanna was among the celebrities who submitted a request for funding to Pepsi’s Refresh Project, which doles out $20 million to various causes, and was at the foundation’s kickoff party Friday night during Super Bowl festivities. The singer is trying to raise money for DKMS, which tries to find bone marrow donors for those suffering from leukemia.
“If we win, this would really help us recruit 4,000 individual donors,” she said.
For Rihanna, the connection is personal. She was active last year in trying to find donors for 6-year-old Jasmina Amena, who died last month. They became friends.
“She was a very free, fun spirited little girl, full of energy, always happy, always energetic,” Rihanna said. “I always remember she wouldn’t sit still. She was always running around, always had a smile on her face.”
Also on hand for the event was New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who received $25,000 for an organization to help kids suffering from juvenile diabetes.
This is Sanchez’s second year at Super Bowl festivities. Last year, he wasn’t drafted, and this year, his Jets came one game shy of getting to the Super Bowl.