Dagenham parents in donor appeal for their son: ‘He won’t have long to go without one’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 August 2018

Damary Dawkins Picture: ACLT

Damary Dawkins Picture: ACLT


The parents of a Dagenham schoolboy have appealed for donors to come forward in a bid to save their son’s life.

Damary Dawkins with Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson. Picture: Crystal Palace FCDamary Dawkins with Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson. Picture: Crystal Palace FC

Damary Dawkins, 12, was diagnosed with acute lympoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer, three years ago.

He received treatment which was supposed to end in July but instead of receiving good news, the family were told he has suffered a relapse and that the cancer is more aggressive than before.

The best chance of survival is a blood stem cell transplant, but unfortunately none of his family are a match.

“He needs a transplant,” Damary’s mum Nadine said.

Damary Dawkins is a footballer. Picture: ACLTDamary Dawkins is a footballer. Picture: ACLT

“He won’t have long to go without one. It could save his life.”

She explained that one of Damary’s relatives proved a match for another person, but that she and her husband Tony now needed a stranger to come forward to help their son.

But the family’s African Caribbean heritage means that is easier said than done.

Currently 69 per cent of patients can find a match from a stranger, but this drops to just 20pc for those from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background.

Damary Dawkins with Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson. Picture: Crystal Palace FCDamary Dawkins with Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson. Picture: Crystal Palace FC

“There are other children from the same background that are having the same problem,” Tony said.

“This isn’t just about helping Damary, it’s about helping others too.”

In the meantime, Sydney Russell School pupil Damary is undergoing treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

He has spent nearly eight weeks in hospital, with hairdresser Nadine and mechanic Tony taking turns staying with him.

“We didn’t ever think something like this was going to happen to us,” Tony said.

“You’re not really aware of the seriousness of the situation until it happens.”

Keen footballer Damary’s plight for a donor has received a boost after England midfielder Raheem Sterling tweeted an appeal to his 1.46m followers.

Crystal Palace have also got behind the campaign as Damary is part of the team’s elite player development centre.

Eagles manager Roy Hodgson encouraged football fans to join the register, adding: “It would be fantastic if we could help to find a match for Damary that could save his life.”

To find out more about joining the stem cell register, visit

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