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Father of Dagenham schoolboy battling leukaemia is ‘humbled’ by turnout at second donor drive

PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:58 26 October 2018

Around 100 people attended the donor drive to help Damary. Pic: Pat Gordon

Around 100 people attended the donor drive to help Damary. Pic: Pat Gordon

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Around 100 people attended a second donor drive to help find a blood stem match for a schoolboy from Dagenham battling leukaemia.

Damary Dawkins with his parents Tony and Nadine. Picture: ACLTDamary Dawkins with his parents Tony and Nadine. Picture: ACLT

The event to help Damary Dawkins was held at Euro Dagenham FC and organised the event with Crystal Palace FC and blood cancer charity DKMS last weekend.

The 12-year-old, a member of Crystal Palace’s elite player development centre, was diagnosed three years ago and his best chance of survival is a blood stem cell transplant, but unfortunately none of his family are a match.

However his African-Caribbean heritage means there is only a 20per cent chance that a match.

Damary was unable to attend the donor drive due to his poor health, but his father Tony did and was overwhelmed by the strong turnout.

Damary with Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson. Pic:Dan Weir/PPAUK.Damary with Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson. Pic:Dan Weir/PPAUK.

He said: “It’s humbling for me to know this is the support Damary gets.

“Euro Dagenham is a community club where we look after each other. He’s loved here.

“It’s not just my boy who needs a donor, though. I organised this drive for Damary but I’m doing this for all kids with cancer.

“Cancer doesn’t discriminate, so why should we?”

Damary Dawkins needs a blood stem transplant. Picture: ACLTDamary Dawkins needs a blood stem transplant. Picture: ACLT

Damary finished a three-year chemotherapy treatment course in July, but instead of being given the all clear he was told he had relapsed and could now only be saved by a stem cell transplant.

Tony added: “His world has been turned upside down since July. He never thought he’d be back in this position.”

Pat Gordon has coached Damary since he joined Crystal Palace.

He said: “We really appreciate people coming down and supporting Damary.

“When you coach young kids it’s like you’re a parent to them. I feel obliged to try and help everyone in Damary’s situation.

“The reason we’re here today is to save lives.”

Osama El-Amin attended the drive on behalf of DKMS and is encouraging people from all ethnic backgrounds to enrol, saying: “People of mixed raced heritage are massively underrepresented on our register.”

A donor drive arranged by Crystal Palace which took place in Croydon last month also attracted around 100 people.

For more information visit dkms.org.uk.

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