THE son of a Barrow-born football star is in a race against time after suffering a cancer relapse.

Gary Stevens's son Jack had been responding well to treatment for juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia, a rare form of blood cancer, but it is no longer working.

Four-year-old Jack urgently needs a stem cell donor and Mr Stevens is urging people to register, saying 'it might come too late for us, but you never know'.

Mr Stevens played 46 times for England, including in the infamous 'Hand of God' match against a Diego Maradona-led Argentina in 1986. He now lives in Australia but retains family ties to Barrow.

"It’s a process of finding as near a match as possible," Mr Stevens said in an interview with former club Everton.

"If they can extend Jack's process with chemotherapy and treatment, it might be three or four months before we get to a point where he’s ready for a transplant.

"In that time, a lot of potential donors can come to the fore."

A stem cell transplant involves destroying unhealthy blood cells and replacing them with cells removed from the blood or bone marrow.

Jack's older brother, Oliver, provided the stem cell donation for the first treatment, but the family has been told he cannot be used again due to a 'graft failure' - when a recipient's immune cells attack a donor's cells or the donor's cells do not develop and grow properly.

A fundraiser set up last year to support the family and keep them afloat while they tended to Jack raised more than £40,000, with Mr Stevens having to cut back his hours as a physio and wife Louise caring for their son round the clock.

Another fundraiser has been set up by Rockingham City Football Club, based in Rockingham, Perth, Western Australia - where Mr Stevens is a coach - to again support the family.

The page description says the 'generosity of the local and international community' kept the family 'afloat financially, emotionally and practically' last year.

"They thought Jack was well on the road to recovery and that they could start to enjoy their boys and family time again, and find a way to pay all the kindness forward, and plan for Jack starting school and both Louise and Gary returning to work," the page says.

"However, Jack has devastatingly just relapsed and the family have had to embark on the arduous treatment regime, once again, to get him transplant ready.

"Our club network is doing what we can and are now asking for your support."

The fundraiser has already raised more than £8,000.

Visit to donate and visit to join the stem cell register.