Donor plea for young footballer Damary Dawkins fighting leukemia

A young footballer whose life has been on hold for three years since his diagnosis with leukemia is hoping to be matched with a potential donor.

Twelve-year-old Damary Dawkins was part of the Crystal Palace development squad until he developed acute lymphoblastic leukemia aged just nine.

Now in search of a bone marrow donor with Afro-Caribbean descent, Damary's story has drawn the attention of England star Raheem Sterling and Eagles manager Roy Hodgson - writes aclt.org

Blood cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK, with 12,000 people succumbing to the illness each year.

Only one in three people with a blood cancer will find a matching blood stem cell donor within their own family, and while there are 1.4 million potential blood stem cell donors on the UK's Aligned Stem Cell Registry those from minority ethnic backgrounds make up just 14%.

Speaking about the support he has received from Manchester City attacker Sterling, Damary told ITV News: "I felt really happy and I loved it. I hope I meet him one day."

Damary's father, Tony, said that the family's life had come to a standstill while his son spends prolonged periods in hospital.

He said: "It's put our life on hold. We've not been able to do much because he's been in hospital for the last five weeks.

"He's not been in a good place, being honest, compared to where he is today."

His mother, Nadine, said that the family has to be extra careful with Damary, as his low blood counts means he is susceptible to infections.

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The family is desperately searching for a bone marrow donor from Afro-Caribbean descent.

Mr Dawkins said: "They [doctors] were saying they [donors] have to be from Afro-Caribbean descent.

"They were saying Jamaica because my parents are from Jamaica and my wife is from Jamaica, but we believe that people travel all over the West Indian islands so we are inter-mixed, so it doesn't necessarily have to be from Jamaica."

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