BRADFORD City's captain has sent a signed shirt to a young player who has been diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.

Richard O'Donnell sent a signed Bantams goalkeeper shirt and a handwritten message to Crewe Alexandra Under-12s Academy stopper Ashton Hulme after being touched by his story.

The Bantams keeper heard about Anton's diagnosis on social media and felt like he wanted to play his part in giving the youngster a boost.

Anton has been diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer, known as Osteosarcoma, and began his chemotherapy treatment last week.

It is a form of cancer which affects only 50 children in the UK every year. His treatment will take place in London, Stoke and Birmingham and Ashton’s mum, Vicky, will become his full-time career over the next 12 months.

The handwritten message from O'Donnell says: 'To Ashton, I'm so sorry to hear about what you’re going through at the moment.

‘I’ve heard nothing but good things about you over the last few days, in particular about what a huge talent you are between the sticks.

‘Wishing you a speedy recovery and hope to see you doing what you love ASAP.

‘Richard O’Donnell – Bradford City’.

Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus, O'Donnell, who is currently sidelined with a thigh injury, says it was his way to put a smile on the youngster's face.

He also contacted Ashton's family on social media offering his support.

He said: "I get a lot of requests for lots of things like birthdays and video messages to record and I try to do as many as I can.

"This story was touching for many reasons, but what really hit home was the severity of his condition.

"For a 12-year-old to get a disease like that is horrible.

"I did it to put a smile on his face and show support for him. I dropped a message to his mum on Twitter too. I just said to her 'we're there for you as well'. It's a tough time for the whole of his family too. I also said anything else I can do for them, let me know.

"This story does hit home even more when you have kids yourself. Anything we can do to help and cheer him up."

Pictures of the letter and signed goalkeeper shirt were posted by Bradford City, who tweeted: "A fantastic gesture from our captain, Richard O'Donnell, whose signed shirt - complete with a note - is on its way to young Ashton Hulme. Keep fighting, Ashton!"

An online fundraising page has also been set up to help Ashton’s family. Go to make a donation, or for more information.

If you wish to send a card or message to Ashton and his family. Please address it to Aidan Callan, Reasheath, Alexandra Park, Wettenhall Road, Nantwich, CW5 6DF.