Crystal Palace stars turn out to show support for Damary

16 August 2018

On Friday 3 August, 12-year-old football fanatic Damary had the opportunity to visit Crystal Palace FC’s training ground, where he received the support of players and manager Roy Hodgson, who urged supporters to lend their help.

Palace players standing in solidarity with Damary

Best chance of survival

Damary was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he was nine, and now doctors have confirmed that his best chance of survival is to find a matching blood stem cell donor. Unfortunately there isn’t a matching donor within Damary’s family and he is now relying on a complete stranger to become his potential lifesaver. However, Damary’s African-Caribbean heritage means the search is even harder because of the lack of black, Asian and minority ethnic people on the register.

Damary in Great Ormond Street Hospital

Finding a lifesaver

Damary and other patients with a minority ethnic background have just a 20% chance of finding the best possible stem cell donor match, compared to 69% for people with northern European backgrounds. Crystal Palace stars have called on as many people as possible to register for Damary and many others like him. 

Hodgson said: “It was a pleasure to meet Damary and his family and welcome them to the training ground. 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.”

Raheem Sterling lends support

Raheem Sterling has also been instrumental in raising awareness of Damary’s plight. Last month, the Manchester City and England ace took to social media to raise awareness of the young footballer’s urgent need to find a matching blood stem cell donor.

Raheem backs Damary on social media

Damary’s search has gained media interest with the family appearing on ITV National News and Channel Five’s 5 News alongside Lisa Nugent, Head of Donor Recruitment at DKMS and in national and regional print.

How you can help

Anyone between the ages of 17-55 and in good general health can go on standby potentially to save a life. Check your eligibility and sign up as a potential blood stem cell donor today.