ACLT Gift of Life Ball Returns To Mark 10 Years Since The Passing Of Charity Spearhead

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On Saturday 6th October 2018, leading blood cancer charity ACLT (African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust)  will see the return of their much-loved fundraising event ‘Gift of Life Celebrity Fundraising Ball’.

The black and white themed ball will take place at the newly refurbished dining suite at the Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London.

ACLT held their first Gift of Life ball in 2000 launching with huge success securing support from high profile personalities such as Ian Wright, John Fashanu, John Barnes, Duchess of York, Prince, Jimmy Choo, Gabrielle, Karen Millen and Anthony Anderson (to name a few), raising over £800k for the charity in its 10 year reign. In 2009 the ball came to an end, one year after the charity co-founders Beverley De-Gale OBE and Orin Lewis OBE, son, Daniel De-Gale, passed away from multiple organ failure.

Daniel first touched the hearts of a nation in 1993 when he was diagnosed with an acute leukaemia – he was just 6 years old.  Daniel received chemotherapy and other treatments to get him into remission.  However, it was when Daniel relapsed at the end of 1995 (the leukaemia came back) his parents received the devastating news their son would require a lifesaving stem cell (bone marrow) transplant from an unrelated donor if he was to beat the illness. 

It was at this time the ACLT was launched from their family home in South London to find their son a life line as consultants from Great Ormond Street confirmed there was a shocking 1 in 250,000 chance of finding a matched donor for him. 

Daniel touched the hearts of a nation as he overcame incredible odds to become the first black individual in the UK to receive a lifesaving stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor in June 1999. Daniel beat his fight against leukaemia and lived a happy life alongside his family and friends for several years, however on October 8th 2008, Daniel sadly passed away.

It is the belief of both Beverley and Orin, that Daniel waited too long for an unrelated matched donor to be found. Over the course of six years prior to his transplant and two years post-transplant, Daniel had received far too much chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other toxic treatments to combat the leukaemia which they believe, later resulted in drastic complications with his health. ACLT has worked tirelessly to help grow the UK stem cell register numbers to help ensure that patients do not wait too long for matched donors to be found to help save a life.

Over the 10-year life span of the Gift of Life event, well known faces from the world of TV, film, sports and entertainment played the role of table hosts to much of the diner’s surprise and enjoyment. This year celebrity table hosts will return; those who are currently confirmed include; ITV News JournalistRonke Phillips, Actress Diane Parish, Author and Entrepreneur Jessica Huie, Spoken Word Artist George the Poet, MOBO Awards founder Kanya King, Mastermind winner and ITV’s The Chase Shaun Wallace, Comedian Angie Le Mar, and many more.

Entertainment on the night will be provided by X Factor 2012 runner up Jahméne Douglas,  saxophonist and composer Yolanda Brown, and ACLT Ambassador and Spoken word artist George the Poet, with further performances to be announced.

 Beverley De-Gale said:

“Gift of Life was ACLT’s flagship fundraising event for over 10 years. Our son Daniel played a huge part in the ball each year. Daniel passed away a few weeks after Gift of Life 9 (2008). And although we ran the event the following year, it just didn’t feel the same without Dan and that’s when we decided it was time to stop.”

“Although Daniel isn’t with us in life, he is most definitely here in spirit and we believe it’s only right we celebrate his wonderful life and amazing legacy 10 years on.”

“I’m extremely proud of what the charity has achieved in the last 22 years since we formed so for me it is a happy celebration of Dan’s life and the charities’ outstanding achievements which includes adding over 100,000 potential donors to the stem cell register and increasing the number of African Caribbean people on the blood and organ donor registers by thousands.  We’ve saved over 100 lives through finding stem cell donors for patients in need. I know Dan will be celebrating these fantastic achievements alongside us”

High profile guests who are invited and confirmed to attend include Levi RootsAnthony and Linda Hamilton parents to Formula One World Grand Prix Champion Lewis Hamilton, (ACLT Patron) John Barnes, (ACLT Patron) Eleanor Smith MP, and Director for Strategic Partnerships & Head of Business Inclusion at Royal Bank of Scotland Heather Melville (to name a few).

A  keynote speech on the night will be delivered by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health Jackie Doyle-Price MP.

The Gift of Life Celebrity Black & White Fundraising Ball is open to members of the public. Tickets are priced at £150 which includes  a drinks reception, celebrity table hosts seated at each table, 3 course dinner, entertainment and auction & raffle.

For tickets, visit: HERE

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