*Updated 07 January 2019*
A few days before Christmas, young leukaemia patient Damary Dawkins received the gift he had been longing for, a stem cell transplant to help beat his fight against Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).
Damary, aged 12, was diagnosed four years ago. At the end of his three year cycle of chemotherapy treatment, doctors informed his parents the leukaemia had returned and now, their only option was to receive a stem cell transplant form an unrelated donor.
ACLT launched the #Match4Damary campaign last summer receiving support from Crystal Palace FC. Towards the end of last year Damary met with one of his sporting idols, England footballer Raheem Sterling, who had reached out to support Damary’s campaign to find a lifesaving donor earlier in the year.
ACLT’s Beverley De-Gale says:
“We’re so thrilled for young Damary to have received his stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor. It’s the best Christmas present for him and his family. Plus it’s a great way to start the new year!
Everyone at ACLT wishes Damary a speedy recovery. We’re know he is eager to return to doing the everyday things he loves whilst in better health, enjoying all what 2019 has ahead for him.
Damary, who lives in East London received the donated stem cells from an unrelated donor whilst as an inpatient at University College Hospital (UCLH), London.
HELP SAVE YOUNG DAMARY – #MATCH4DAMARY CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES
“In March 2015 after Damary’s 9th Birthday I noticed Damary’s lymph nodes behind both his ears were swollen. I took him to the GP and they said it was an infection and he was given antibiotics to take for 7 days. Seven days followed and the swelling was getting worse, and I noticed he was not as active as he used to be. He was losing weight, sleeping a lot and snoring very heavily in his sleep.
The GP referred him to the hospital for a blood test, Ultra Sound, MRI scan. All the tests came back negative and they said they couldn’t find anything wrong with Damary.
As a parent you know when there’s something not right with your child so l demanded that the doctors do further tests for something else. One of the tests they did was a biopsy. It showed Damary had leukaemia (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia) and that was the beginning of our nightmare.
Damary is a very active child, he loves karate, swimming, athletics and he’s brilliant at playing football and is currently playing for Euro Dagenham F.C, so to be told he had cancer was very devastating!
Doctors had previously said Damary’s treatment for his leukaemia would last three years, so he was due to complete chemotherapy this year. During the course of his treatment it was a very difficult time for our family but as years went by we were looking forward to the end of him receiving all the toxic drugs which was helping to treat him. It was the best news for Damary and our family when the doctor told him that his treatment would end in July 2018 and he would be free from cancer and would be able to carry on with his life with no restrictions on what he could eat or which activities he could take part in. We had even booked a family holiday to Spain to celebrate the end of his treatment, and scheduled to leave on the 19th August 2018.
In May 2018 Damary’s blood test showed he had fallen out of remission, the leukaemia was returning which was puzzling to the doctors as Damary’s treatment should have been finishing in two months and he’s on the strongest chemotherapy there is for his leukaemia. They have now recently explained to us that Damary needs an urgent bone marrow (stem cell) transplant in order to survive as the cancer came back and it’s more aggressive than before and chemotherapy alone will not work.
Damary has been in hospital now for 5 weeks and during that time he had numerous infections, severe high temperatures and constant headaches.”
Damary’s only chance of survival is for us to find him a matching donor.
To join the stem cell register and read more about the process of becoming a stem cell donor, please CLICK HERE
Alternatively, please call the ACLT offices on 020 3757 7700 for any queries you may have.