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Dagenham school raises £2,000 for charity in memory of pupil who died from leukaemia

PUBLISHED: 14:00 17 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:04 17 May 2019

Nadine and Tony Dawkins with the cheque from the school. Pic: ACLT

Nadine and Tony Dawkins with the cheque from the school. Pic: ACLT

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Students at a secondary school in Dagenham have raised £2,000 in memory of their friend who died from leukaemia.

Nadine and Tony Dawkins with Beverly Degale and Orin Lewis from the ACLT. Pic: ACLTNadine and Tony Dawkins with Beverly Degale and Orin Lewis from the ACLT. Pic: ACLT

Tony and Nadine Dawkins, the parents of 13-year-old Damary Dawkins, visited Sydney Russell School on Tuesday where they were given a cheque for the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT).

The charity helped the family during their son's four-year battle with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Last year a campaign was launched by ACLT to find Damary a stem cell match after medics said it was his only chance of survival.

However none of his family were a match so campaign #match4damary was launched by charity African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) to find a stem cell donor.

Damary died in March. Picture: ACLTDamary died in March. Picture: ACLT

A match was found and Damary underwent a transplant in December but he passed away in March - six weeks after his 13th birthday.

Beverley De-Gale, co-founder of ACLT, accompanied Damary's parents with her husband Orin Lewis who also co-founded the charity.

She said: "On behalf of the ACLT charity and the patients and families of patients we represent around the entire world, I would like to say a huge 'thank you' to the staff and amazing students at Sydney Russell for raising funds to assist our work of saving more lives when registering new potential stem cell, blood and organ donors on to the donor registries.

"Despite a terrible loss, the student friends and staff of Damary found the strength through heart-breaking grief to raise funds to assist our work, we cannot thank them enough.

Nadine and Tony Dawkins with pupils at the school. Pic: Sydney Russell SchoolNadine and Tony Dawkins with pupils at the school. Pic: Sydney Russell School

"It was very difficult for both parents to be there but they wanted to be there for this very special moment.

"At the start of the new semester in September, ACLT charity will return to the school to register the sixth form students and the staff as potential stem cell donors, blood and organ donors - all in the name of Damary Dawkins."

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The hunt to find a match for Damary hit the national headlines after Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling tweeted about his plight and visited him in Great Ormond Street hospital.

Nadine and Tony Dawkins with Beverly Degale and Orin Lewis from the ACLT. Pic: ACLTNadine and Tony Dawkins with Beverly Degale and Orin Lewis from the ACLT. Pic: ACLT

He also paid for Damary's funeral.

Damary also gained the support of premier league football club Crystal Palace, where he was a member of the elite development squad, which held a series of recruitment drives with blood cancer charity DKMS to try and find a potential donor.

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 about joining the donor register visit aclt.org.

Damary died in March. Picture: ACLTDamary died in March. Picture: ACLT

Nadine and Tony Dawkins with pupils at the school. Pic: Sydney Russell SchoolNadine and Tony Dawkins with pupils at the school. Pic: Sydney Russell School

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