Image: Katie Cramer
Robert Durell  /  AP
Katie Cramer, who suffers acute myleoid leukemia, rests in her bed on July 2 at the Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center in California. The 16-year-old died at home on Jan. 6 after an unsuccessful search for a bone marrow donor.
updated 1/11/2011 4:42:50 PM ET 2011-01-11T21:42:50

A leukemia-stricken California teenager whose adoptive mother traveled to China to search for a bone marrow donor after being unable to find a match in the U.S. has died.

The Sacramento Bee reports that 16-year-old Katie Cramer died Thursday at home.

Katie was diagnosed with the deadly blood disease four years ago and struggled to find a bone marrow donor so she could undergo a transplant. She was adopted from China at 14 months old and had no known blood relatives who could donate.

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The case highlighted the difficulties that ethnic minorities face in finding bone marrow matches. According to the Asian American Donor Program, they have only a 50-percent chance of finding a match from the U.S. donor registry, compared with 80 percent for whites.

Her mother, Sherrie Cramer, made an unsuccessful trip to China in July in search of a donor. A few samples were found after help from the local Red Cross but none proved to be the perfect match Katie needed.

After the China trip, Katie's health worsened as she struggled with damage to her heart and a weakened immune system caused by her cancer treatments.

On New Year's Day, Katie's doctor told the family she would not get better, and only had a few days left to live.

Story: Mom searches China for donor to save her daughter's life

Katie spent her last days at home surrounded by friends, family and her beloved dog.

Sherrie and her husband were at Katie's side when the girl stopped breathing.

"It was very beautiful and peaceful," she told the Bee. "We know all of the things she fought. It's a relief that she's not in pain and not sick."

A public memorial is scheduled for Jan. 22 in Sacramento.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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