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Goodbye to an Amazing Inspiration

Last week 21 year old Daniel De-Gale died…. in his short years he and his family managed to achieve so much for the black community in the UK. And that legacy will save so many lives in years to come. .
Daniel contracted leukemia when he was six years old, at that point the chances of finding a bone marrow match as a black child were 1 in 250,000 — compared to 1 in 5 if you were white. There were just not enough donors coming forward to be tested — mostly because they just knew nothing about it. Of the 285,000 who were registered donors, just 500 were black or mixed race.
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). 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 match in 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 friend 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. She was diagnosed in 2004. At the time she was in the process of planning her wedding, and the ACLT gave her and her family immense support as they desperately tried to 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 then Daniel had found a match, but by no means had they stopped their fight. Every week they were meeting children and adults who needed 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, or 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.
www.aclt.org

—Miss London

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