England footballer Raheem Sterling visits Dagenham schoolboy battling leukaemia
PUBLISHED: 17:05 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:04 03 December 2018
Not many 12-year-olds can say they have played pool with one of England’s top footballers.
But Damary Dawkins can add his name to that list after Manchester City star Raheem Sterling visited the young cancer patient in hospital.
Damary, who lives in Dagenham, was able to spend time with the midfielder at University College London Hospital yesterday (Thursday).
As well as potting a few balls on the pool table, the young footballer - part of Crystal Palace’s elite player development centre - was able to chat to his idol.
Sterling, 23, was joined on the visit by his fiancé Paige Milian, while Damary’s parents Nadine and Tony and his sister Ptamone were also present.
Damary is being supported by the Afro-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) with the charity’s Beverley De-Gale, a co-founder, and Ronke Oke.
Ronke said: “It went really well – Damary was so excited, it was so lovely to see.
“They played a game of pool together and had time to chat, which Damary loved.”
Sydney Russell School pupil Damary was originally diagnosed with acute lympoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer, three years ago.
His treatment was due to end in July but instead of receiving good news, his parents 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.
Earlier this year, Sterling joined the campaign to find Damary a lifesaving stem cell donor.
Posting a picture on his Facebook account of Damary in hospital holding up a signed Palace shirt, he wrote: “Guys this is very important we need to help this kid.”
He explained Damary’s condition, adding that “the problem here is that there are not enough Afro-Caribbean donors on the register”.
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.
For more information on the ACLT and to join the stem cell register, visit bit.ly/2OAMwcm
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