Palace join DKMS to host event for Damary
Local community members urged to register as blood stem cell donors for #Donate4Damary
Crystal Palace FC and Palace for Life Foundation have teamed up with blood cancer charity DKMS in a bid to urge fans and local community members to register as potential lifesavers in support of 12-year-old Damary Dawkins. The young footballer has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and urgently needs a blood stem cell transplant that could potentially save his life.
On Tuesday 2 October, Palace for Life Foundation, the official charity of the club, and DKMS are holding a public registration event at Whitgift Shopping Centre, N End, Croydon CR0 1TY from 9:00am to 5:00pm. They are encouraging as many people aged between 17-55 and in general good health to attend and register as a potential lifesaver.
Damary’s appeal for a matching blood stem cell donor has been backed by Palace manager Roy Hodgson, who recently welcomed Damary to the Training Ground to meet players.
“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,” said Hodgson.
At the age of nine, in 2015, Damary was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). ALL is a type of cancer that leads to a larger number of white blood cells in the blood and lower number of red blood cells and platelet cells.
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.
Porsha Nunes-Brown, Donor Recruitment Manager at DKMS UK said: “Damary is often in and out of the hospital and desperately needs a blood stem cell transplant. Please attend our registration event for Damary and help us find a matching donor for Damary or someone else in need of a blood stem cell transplant. Registering as a potential blood stem cell donor is so easy to do, but I can’t emphasise enough how important it is. It could lead to you saving a life”.
A blood stem cell donation is often the only chance of survival for many blood cancer and blood disorder patients. Sadly, many patients will not find a matching donor. This isn’t because a match doesn’t exist, it’s simply because there aren’t enough people registered as donors. That is why DKMS works to increase the size and diversity of the blood stem cell registry.
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.
The swab is analysed to establish tissue characteristics, with information added anonymously to the UK Stem Cell Registry. If the tissue type is matched to a patient now or in the future, around 90% of blood stem cell donations in the UK are collected via the bloodstream. Around 10% of blood stem cell donations in the UK are made via a donation of bone marrow collected from the back of the pelvic bone.
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 at www.dkms.org.uk.