When faced with the possibility that they could lose their son — Daniel’s parents, Orin Lewis and Beverely De-Gale, set up the African Caribbean Leukemia Trust (ACLT).Â That was 12 years ago. Today there are now 22,000 black and mixed-raced donors on the list, which means there are fewer leukemia sufferers facing an automatic death sentence. Daniel finally found a matchÂ inÂ 1999, and was able to go back to being a normal kid again.
I was tested and went on the donor list a few years ago. It was sparked by my friendÂ Sarah who also contracted the disease. Her family worked tirelessly organising bone marrow drives up and down the country, hoping the find the match that would save Sarah’s life. SheÂ was diagnosed in 2004. At the timeÂ she was in the processÂ of planning her wedding, and the ACLT gave her and her family immenseÂ supportÂ as they desperately tried toÂ find a match. She finally found one in 2006.
I’ve interviewed Daniel’s parents on numerous occasions. Their strength, and the un-ending drive and determination is just outstanding. The last time I interviewed them was three years ago. By thenÂ Daniel had found a match, but by no means had they stopped their fight. Every week they wereÂ meeting children and adults who neededÂ a match that could save their life and so they kept on spreading the message.
If it wasn’t for them Sarah wouldn’t have been able to walk down the aisle,Â orÂ continue to be the most incredible teacher.
When Daniel was born 21 years ago, his parents weren’t aware of how much of an impact his life would have. His life saved others. And for that we will always be grateful. RIP.
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