There is nothing worse than hearing the word “Cancer” from a doctor. From that moment on not only your life but the lives of those around you changes.
Tranmere Rovers player Joe Thompson was diagnosed with Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkins Lymphoma in October of last year. Needless to say his team mates were in shock that such a fit young man in the prime of his life should have cancer. Sadly this disease like many others is indiscriminate.
To show their support for the player Tranmere Rovers supporters have been participating in a minute’s applause in the seventh minute of every game since the 24-year-old winger’s diagnosis; Seven was Thompson’s squad number. This is an awesome gesture and shows how sport can bring people together.
In addition to this public support fans and team mates have joined up for a sponsored ‘Grow 4 Joe’ challenge. The idea being that people grow their hair to raise funds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
Tranmere midfielder and Thompson’s team mate Max Power was the one to come up with the idea as a show of moral support.
Power, a product of the club’s youth system has established himself as a first team regular and has said: “I’m growing my hair for 12 months in support of my good friend Joe. We’re team mates on and off the pitch and I want to do my bit to help raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research which was the charity Joe selected. Cancer is one of those words that scares everyone. The more money that goes towards researching it and beating it the better. I’m sure by the end of the year I’ll look a bit of a mess but it’s all for a very good cause.”
If you suddenly see more footballers with flowing locks on your television screens it will not be a flashback to the seventies, but probably because more players have opted to support this initiative. Already on board according to the Liverpool Echo are Sheffield Wednesday star Liam Palmer, who was on loan to Tranmere, recently returned from a loan spell at Swindon Town, Peterborough forward Nicky Ajose and former Tranmere full back Paul Black.
Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/grow4joe . You can also follow the challenge on Twitter @Grow4joe and/or on Instagram: Grow4joe .
(The writer of this piece was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer in 1995 so is well aware of how scary the word can be. He wrote a book about his journey called “Please Sir Can I Have My Ball Back.”)