Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 15:10 UK

Donor campaigner's funeral held

The family founded the Afro-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust

The funeral of a leukaemia sufferer, whose family campaigned for more organ donors from ethnic minorities, has taken place.

Daniel De-Gale, 21, from Croydon, south London, died of multiple organ failure from an unrelated illness on 8 October.

His parents founded the Afro-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT) in 1996 after facing difficulty trying to a find bone marrow donor for their son.

The funeral was held in Croydon Parish Church, Church Street.

'Tremendous courage'

Orin Lewis, his stepfather, told the congregation: "I was with him until the last moment and I watched him fight with tremendous courage, strength and dignity to the very end."

He added: "He is my ultimate hero."

Orin Lewis
Stepfather Orin Lewis said Mr De-Gale showed "tremendous courage"

Among the mourners were the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, ex-footballer Ian Wright, and actor Colin Salmon.

Mr De-Gale was diagnosed with leukaemia in April 1993 and received a bone-marrow transplant in June 1999 at the age of 12 at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

He was in remission when he developed complications which led to multiple organ failure.

His parents have been campaigning through the ACLT to encourage ethnic minorities and those from mixed race communities to register as bone marrow donors.

His mother, Beverley De-Gale, said: "It has in a strange way made it easier for us to deal with losing Daniel when we look at the messages, the emails, the phone calls, the flowers, the donations that people make into the charity."

According to the ACLT the odds of finding a bone marrow match are one in 100,000 if the sufferer is black or mixed race, compared with about one in five if the patient is white.

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