In 2003, former England, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers footballer Geoff Thomas was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia and was given less than three months to live. However, following treatment by Cure Leukaemia Co-founder and University of Birmingham’s Professor Charlie Craddock, and a bone marrow transplant from his sister, Geoff has been in remission since January 2005.
To celebrate ten years in remission from leukaemia, Geoff has teamed up with Cure Leukaemia and the University of Birmingham to raise £500,000 to ensure more patients can access lifesaving treatments like he did. On 18 June 2015, 300 cyclists will take part in London 2 Paris: Inspiring The Revolution enjoying the thrill of riding like a professional with the full complement of rolling road blocks and mechanical support, as well as the chance to ride in peloton-style groups of up to 75 riders with a group to suit every ability.
This is the second collaboration between Cure Leukaemia and the University of Birmingham after the ‘Birmingham, let’s cure leukaemia’ campaign was launched in the summer of 2014 to encourage runners to take part in the BUPA Great Birmingham Run.
Commenting on his work with Cure Leukaemia at the University, Geoff Thomas said “After I went into remission, I had no idea what I would be doing ten years on, but being in such good health and having returned as a Patron of Cure Leukaemia I want to get more involved and help to raise awareness and funds that I know will make a direct impact on the development of new treatments for patients who are in the same position as I was a decade ago. I’m hoping that my efforts will inspire the public to get behind us and donate to Cure Leukaemia and the University of Birmingham and help us to save more lives.”
Geoff, and the footballing community, have a strong connection to Cure Leukaemia. The charity helped save Geoff’s life and, more recently, the life of former Aston Villa Captain Stiliyan Petrov. Based at the Centre for Clinical Haematology in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Professor Charlie Craddock has stated his ambition that Birmingham will find a cure for all blood cancers within the next 30 years and Geoff is determined to raise funds to advance this progress.
Much of this work will be taking place in conjunction with scientists at the Institute of Translational Medicine, a transformational building based next to the University of Birmingham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital that will bring together patients, researchers and clinicians under one roof. Its location in the heart of Birmingham also means that patients with a range of other cancers and life-threatening diseases form one of the largest patient populations in Europe can benefit from access to new drug and transplant therapies. New treatments which will be pioneered in Birmingham and save lives, like those that saved Geoff.
Entry for London 2 Paris: Inspiring The Revolution is now open and a number of Geoff’s friends and supporters from the sporting community will be taking part.
George Lineker, a fellow leukaemia survivor and son of former England and Spurs striker and Match of the Day presenter Gary, is thrilled to be a part of Team Revolution,
“I’m really excited to be joining Geoff on his London 2 Paris: Inspiring the Revolution ride in June. As a leukaemia survivor, like Geoff, I am always keen to show my support for charities that are helping people battle this terrible disease and I know the work Cure Leukaemia and the University of Birmingham help support is helping save lives. It is a great cause and I look forward to joining Geoff and the rest of Team Revolution later this year for what I’m sure will be a memorable ride to Paris. Geoff is an inspirational man and I am proud to be a part of his team.”
Legendary England and Arsenal striker and Geoff’s former Crystal Palace teammate Ian Wright will be on the ride as well as Geoff’s other former Palace teammates Mark Bright and John Salako. Former Watford and current England Under-20 manager Aidy Boothroyd and sports presenter Jill Douglas will be taking part as well.
Notes to editors
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