Schoolboy fighting leukaemia has vital blood stem cell transplant
PUBLISHED: 17:01 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:36 09 January 2019
A schoolboy from Dagenham battling leukaemia who desperately needs a blood stem cell donor to save his life has found a match and had a transplant.
Damary Dawkins, 12, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer, four years ago and after undergoing chemotherapy treatment his parents were given the grave news he needed a transplant to survive,
Unfortunately none of his family were a match so a #Match4Damary campaign was launched by cancer charity the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) to find the vital match he needed.
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.
Fortunately a match was found for Damary in the US and he was given a transplant a few days before Christmas after it arrived in the UK.
Beverley De-Gale, co-founder of ACLT, said: “We’re so thrilled for young Damary to have received his stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor. It’s the best Christmas present for him and his family.
“Plus it’s a great way to start the new year!
“Everyone at ACLT wishes Damary a speedy recovery. We’re know he is eager to return to doing the everyday things he loves whilst in better health, enjoying all what 2019 has to ahead for him.”
The Sydney Russell School pupil also gained the support of Manchester City and England footballer Raheem Sterling, who tweeted about his plight and visited him at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Premier league football club Crystal Palace, where Damary is a member of the elite development squad, also held recruitment drives with blood cancer charity DKMS to try and find a potential donor.
Damary’s parents had previously spoken about their race to find him a match.
His mother Nadine said: “He won’t have long to go without one. It could save his life.”
Father Tony added: “We didn’t ever think something like this was going to happen to us.
“You’re not really aware of the seriousness of the situation until it happens.”
Eagles manager Roy Hodgson encouraged football fans to join the register, saying: “It would be fantastic if we could help to find a match for Damary that could save his life.”
There are other people suffering from leukaemia who need a match.
To join the register or for more information visit aclt.org/join-the-stem-cell-register/.