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Raheem Sterling to Pay For Funeral of Crystal Palace Youth Player Damary Dawkins

Raheem Sterling said Damary Dawkins, who died of leukemia in March aged 13, “touched a lot of lives, including my own”.


Updated:April 22, 2019, 6:05 PM IST
Raheem Sterling to Pay For Funeral of Crystal Palace Youth Player Damary Dawkins
Raheem Sterling dedicated his goal to Damary Dawkins in March during England vs Czech Republic. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

England star Raheem Sterling is to pay for the funeral of former Crystal Palace youth player Damary Dawkins who he says was an “example to us all”.

Dawkins died aged 13 of leukemia in March -- Sterling had supported a campaign to find a suitable stem cell donor for him.

According to an appeal page, Dawkins did receive a stem cell match a few days before Christmas but he relapsed in February.

His family had set up a GoFundMe page to raise £15,000 ($19,400) to give Dawkins the “best send off and celebration of life” -- but Sterling has assumed all the costs himself.

“Damary was a special young man who touched a lot of lives, including my own. Positive until the end, he was an example to us all,” said Sterling, who will attend the funeral on Friday.

Sterling paid tribute to Damary by lifting his England shirt to reveal a picture of the two of them together following his second goal in the 5-0 win over the Czech Republic in their Euro 2020 qualifier in March.

Their close relationship echoes that of former England international Jermain Defoe and Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery, who died of a rare form of cancer aged just six in 2017.

Defoe, who was playing for Sunderland at the time, forged a close bond with the youngster -- he has his name tattooed on his right arm -- and carried the boy he described as his “best friend” onto the pitch at Wembley for an England international with Lithuania.

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