Raheem Sterling to pay for the funeral of Dagenham schoolboy Damary Dawkins
PUBLISHED: 12:05 22 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:10 22 April 2019
Footballer Raheem Sterling will pay for the funeral of a schoolboy Damary Dawkins who died from cancer.
"Damary was a special young man who touched a lot of lives, including my own."
The 13-year-old from Dagenham, died last month following a four-year battle against acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
During his fight, the Crystal Palace youth player, gained the support of the Manchester City and England forward after a campaign was launched by charity African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) to find him a stem cell donor.
Raheem tweeted about his plight and visited him in hospital while he was being treated.
Despite finding a match and undergoing a stem cell transplant the Sydney Russell pupil sadly died on March 17.
A crowd fundraiser was set up by a friend of Damary's parents Nadine and Tony to help pay for his funeral but today Raheem has said he will cover all the costs.
He said: “Damary was a special young man who touched a lot of lives, including my own.
“Positive until the end, he was an example to us all.”
Days after Damary's death Raheem paid tribute to him in the Euro 2020 qualifier against the Czech Republic at Wembley.
After the second of three goals he lifted his England shirt to reveal another t-shirt with a picture of him and Damary.
Tony spoke last month about the relationship between Raheem and his son.
“I knew that they used to speak because (Sterling) came down to the hospital, they played pool together and apparently they swapped numbers,” he said.
“I remember when Crystal Palace played Manchester City and they lost Damary put on his tracksuit with the Crystal Palace badge and took a picture to send to Raheem. They had banter with each other.
“(The shirt tribute) was very, very touching and fitting. I know Damary touched his heart.”
Last week the Home Office said they would review the case of Damary's maternal grandmother who was refused a visa so she could attend her grandson's funeral.
Retired Ivy Powell, 67, applied for permission to fly to the UK from Jamaica but it was refused despite Damary's parents providing documentation to show they will financially support her during her stay.
However when The Post contacted the Home Office they agreed to take a second look at her application.