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Sign up to help save his life

PUBLISHED: 11:43 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:43 24 August 2010

A BOXING club is inviting people to throw their towel in the ring and help save the life of a seriously ill schoolboy. Dean Sheikh, from Notting Hill, suffers from a rare illness which will kill him unless he undergoes a bone marrow transplant – but to da

A BOXING club is inviting people to throw their towel in the ring and help save the life of a seriously ill schoolboy.

Dean Sheikh, from Notting Hill, suffers from a rare illness which will kill him unless he undergoes a bone marrow transplant - but to date has yet to find a vital match.

The eight-year-old is just one of 38 people in the world suffering from Dyskeratosis Congenita, a congenital illness which has ravaged his immune system, degenerated his nails and hair and destroyed his bone marrow.

Without a transplant his life expectancy is as little as five years and because Dean is Asian his chances of finding a match are one in 100,000 compared to one in five if he was white.

The African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) have teamed up with All Stars Boxing Club on Harrow Road, Paddington, to host a recruitment drive this Saturday so people can register as a prospective bone marrow donor and possibly save his life.

Farah Ikbal, Dean's mother, has made a heartfelt plea for people to come to the drive.

She said: "Please, please, please, stop thinking about it. Do not wait until it happens to someone that you know or care about.

"It isn't as difficult as you may think. If this was your child, would you be making excuses?"

Bev De-Gale founded ACLT in 1996 three years after her son Daniel was diagnosed with Leukaemia at the age of six.

He successfully underwent a transplant at the age of 12 but sadly died from multiple organ failure last year at the age of 21.

She said: "We desperately need more donors from the black or ethnic minority community (BME).

"Dean is desperately ill and could die if he doesn't find a match.

"By joining the register you could save someone's life."

Lesley Sackey is one of a handful of professional female boxers in the country.

She helped organised the event at the club where she trains after hearing about Dean's plight.

She said: "It's important that people turn up especially those from the BME community.

"There is a huge shortage and it effecting people's lives."

The ACLT recruitment drive will be taking place at All Stars Boxing Club, 576 Harrow Road, Paddington, on October 24 between 12pm and 4pm. For more information contact ACLT on 020 8240 4480 or visit www.aclt.org

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