Crystal Palace FC have teamed up with blood cancer charity DKMS in a bid to urge fans to register as potential lifesavers in support of 12-year-old Damary Dawkins.
The young footballer has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and urgently needs a blood stem cell transplant that could potentially save his life.
On Friday 3rd August, Damary had the opportunity to visit the training ground where he received the support of the Eagles players and manager Roy Hodgson, who urged supporters to lend their help.
“It was a pleasure to meet Damary and his family and welcome them to the training ground," he said. "Damary is a big football fan and a promising young player and we were all impressed by his bravery and composure at what must be a very difficult time. It would be fantastic if we could help to find a match for Damary that could save his life and I would urge Palace fans to register with DKMS."
Damary is naturally a very active child who enjoys swimming and playing football, and is currently a member of Palace for Life Foundation’s Elite Player Development Centre in Bromley.
The treatment course was set to last three years, with Damary receiving the strongest chemotherapy available for leukaemia. The family were told his treatment would end in July 2018 with Damary then being free from cancer, but instead received the news that he had relapsed. Doctors have said Damary’s best chance of survival is a blood stem cell transplant because the cancer is more aggressive than before and chemotherapy alone will not work.
A search of Damary’s family has not found a match so he is now relying on a complete stranger to be his potential lifesaver. Damary’s African-Caribbean heritage means the search is even harder because there is a lack of black, Asian and mixed-race donors on the stem cell registry.
Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer, such as leukaemia. Every year, over 12,000 people die from blood cancers in the UK – making it the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK.
Individuals have the opportunity to register as blood stem cell donors online at dkms.org.uk/Damary and potentially save the life of someone with a blood cancer or blood disorder, like Damary.
Anyone in the UK aged between 17 and 55 and in good general health can register with DKMS. To register, the charity asks potential blood stem cell donors to give consent and a three-minute swab sample from the inside of their cheek. This is done at one of their donor recruitment events or via requesting a kit from their website.
It costs DKMS £40 to register a new potential blood stem cell donor. As a charity, DKMS relies on contributions from the public to help cover these costs. Anyone wishing to help DKMS reach and register more potential lifesavers can donate.