Gary Ablett's niece donates her bone marrow less than a year after her uncle died from non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

Although Anthony Nolan found a donor for Gary, he passed away on January 2nd 2012
Although Anthony Nolan found a donor for Gary, he passed away on January 2nd 2012 Photo: PA Images

The niece of former Liverpool and Everton footballer Gary Ablett has donated her bone marrow to help cure a blood cancer patient, less than a year after her uncle died of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Toni Moore is now helping Anthony Nolan to raise awareness of its bone marrow register, which the charity uses to match potential donors with blood cancer patients in desperate need of a lifesaving bone marrow transplant.

Toni, 23, joined the Anthony Nolan register in 2011, following her uncle's diagnosis.

She said: "When Gary was told that he needed a bone marrow transplant to save his life, we all decided to sign up to the register. We knew that we wouldn't be a match for him, but we could be a match for someone else in his position, it was such an important thing to do."

Although Anthony Nolan found a donor for Gary, he passed away on January 2, 2012.

Months later Anthony Nolan contacted Toni to tell her that she was a potential match for a patient. Toni donated in November and recalled how she was a "bit anxious" about the procedure.

She said: "I read all the information that Anthony Nolan provided, and talked it through with my family. But when it came down to it, there was nothing to be scared about, it's just like giving blood.

"It really wasn't a big deal until I was told that my recipient was a woman. It suddenly hit me that I'd just given someone's mum, sister or wife another chance this Christmas. Nothing can be more important than that."

There are currently more than 460,000 people on the Anthony Nolan register, but the charity can only find a match for about half the people who approach it in need of a lifesaving transplant.

The registration process can be started online, at www.anthonynolan.org/register.