BBC Dragons’ Den contestant Levi Roots attended a charity football tournament on Sunday (25 July) in support of 12-year-old Arya Lloyd, who suffers with a life-threatening blood disorder.
Levi joined youth sports initiative Kickoff@3 and blood cancer charity DKMS at the Warren Sports Ground in Bromley, South London, for a special 7-A-Side football tournament for Arya.
Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer or blood disorder, such as leukaemia, myeloma or lymphoma and often a blood stem cell donation is the best – and sometimes the only - treatment method to help give someone a second chance of life. Yet, only 2% of the population is registered as potential blood stem cell donors.
Kickoff@3 was keen to continue their support of the sporty youngster and DKMS, and got in touch with Reggae Reggae sauce founder Levi Roots - a regular contributor to events and institutions supporting young people. It was hoped Levi’s broad appeal would inspire a wide variety of kids and their parents to register with DKMS.
Levi Roots said: “I was saddened to hear about Arya’s story, but at the same time it is nothing short of inspiring. Not many people can display such tremendous spirit and unflinching courage at the best of times, much less in the face of such a serious condition. She’s amazing.
“It was so great to see so many young people, from different backgrounds come together for Kickoff@3’s football tournament. Seeing Arya present the trophy to the winning team was really special. We know Arya’s lifesaver is out there somewhere. If they’re listening or reading this, my message is simple: Arya needs you.”
Reshna Radiven, Head of Communications and Engagement at DKMS UK, said: “There is an urgent need for more people to come forward and register as potential blood stem cell donors.
“We are particularly calling for more people from diverse backgrounds, so that we can continue to diversify the donor pool for Arya and others like her. For a patient of white, north European origin, there is a 69% chance of finding a matching donor if they need one. This drops to just 20% for those from minority ethnic backgrounds.”
Sunday’s event featured 30 teams and was attended by numerous celebrities including ex-footballers Paul Canoville and Marcus Gayle.
If you are age 17-55 and in good general health, you can support Arya and others in need of a lifesaving transplant by registering online at www.dkms.org.uk/kickoff3 for your home swab kit. Over 857,000 other lifesavers-in-waiting have already registered to help give 1,415 people a second chance of life.