1. ITV Report

Liverpool goalkeeper backs donor campaign

Premier League goalkeeper Brad Jones has backed a campaign to find more bone marrow donors having suffered personal tragedy himself with the death of his son from leukaemia.

The Liverpool player lost six-year-old Luca in November 2011 and since then he and partner Dani Lawrence have highlighted the issues related to the disease.

They are backing Anthony Nolan, the UK's blood cancer charity, which is looking for men aged between 16 and 30 years to sign up to a register which currently has 470,000 people on it.

Jones, from Australia, said that had Luca, his child from a previous relationship, not been affected they would have been ignorant of the disease and what can be done to combat it.

Even though the youngster received a transplant it was not successful and now the couple are working to ensure his death was not in vain.

"It was something that, after we lost Luca, we wanted to spread the word and get people on the list and have a legacy for him.

"It made us aware of what goes on and what people need. For us it was not until we saw it first hand just how hard it is finding a donor.

"We were unfortunate in that transplant didn't work but the fact he found one was unbelievable at the time.

"We are trying to help others because it wasn't until we were there we realised just how hard it was."

– Brad Jones

Ms Lawrence, who gave birth to the couple's son Nico last April, said just because their story had been one of failure it did not mean that was always the case.

She said: "For us it didn't quite work out but it does work for other people.

"We want to help others and by doing so it gives us a focus, a goal, and helps us too.

"It is all about dispelling the myths about the 'horribleness' and incorrect information.

"When people hear bone marrow transplant they think 'pain' and it is really not like that, it is more like giving blood.

"It is trying to get rid of those negative connotations.

"Only 30% of siblings match up so 70% (of donors) will have to be strangers and at the moment Anthony Nolan can only help half the people who need it - which is not quite good enough.

"It is life-changing for the people who donate as well."

:: Further information about joining the register can be found at www.anthonynolan.org/spit.