Bone marrow boy: tragedy

A seriously ill boy who was due to be the focus of a bone marrow recruitment drive on Sunday has tragically died. Dean Sheikh, 8, from Notting Hill, passed away this morning [Thursday] before a bone marrow match could be found for him. An event to find a

A seriously ill boy who was due to be the focus of a bone marrow recruitment drive on Sunday has tragically died.

Dean Sheikh, 8, from Notting Hill, passed away this morning [Thursday] before a bone marrow match could be found for him.

An event to find a donor for Dean which is due to be held this Sunday at the All Stars Boxing Club will still go ahead in his memory.

Dean was just one of 38 people in the world suffering from Dyskeratosis Congentia, a congenital illness which had ravaged his immune system, degenerated his nails and hair and destroyed his bone marrow.


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Because he is of Asian descent the chances of him finding a match were just one in 100,000 compared to one in five if he was white.

Farah Ikbal, Dean's heartbroken mother, said: "Because not enough people stepped forward to help Dean a matching donor was not found in time.

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"My dear son lost his battle but it is hugely important that the people of North West and West London still come along and register on Sunday as there are thousands of others awaiting life saving matches."

The event has been organised by the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT), a charity which campaigns for more ethnic minority people to join the bone marrow register.

Its co-founder Beverley De-Gale said: "We are deeply saddened by the news of Dean's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Farah and the family.

"It breaks our hearts that this beautiful child should lose his life simply because not enough people stepped forward to save his life. In Dean's name we will continue to push the message within the Asian Community and go forward in saving other lives."

The ACLT recruitment drive will be taking place at All Stars Boxing Club, 576 Harrow Road, Paddington, on October 25 between 12pm- 4pm.

For more information contact ACLT on 020 8240 4480 or visit www.aclt.org.

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