Ex-Crystal Palace captain and leukaemia survivor Geoff Thomas is returning to Selhurst Park on Saturday 2 April as part of a new campaign which he hopes will inspire people to use football to help beat blood cancer.
The Eagles legend is working with the charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research to launch 'Give blood cancer the red card' a project to raise money to find cures for patients with leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. The campaign will be one of a number of activities at the club's Family Day, when they take on another of Thomas’ former clubs, Barnsley.
The family day itself is being sponsored by The Croydon Advertiser who have committed to helping Geoff with additional exposure. Two children who are in remission from leukaemia will lead the two teams out before the match as mascots. Palace’s sponsors, the logistics company GAC, have generously agreed for their logo to be replaced with Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’s as the main shirt sponsor on the day.
Red cards will be placed on every seat in the stadium and fans will be asked to hold them up before kick off, as part of Geoff’s vision to use football to beat blood cancer. Geoff will also talk to the crowd at half time about his own cancer battle and his determination to help more patients survive.
It’s not just those at the match who can help, Geoff is asking all football fans to donate £2 to help him beat blood cancers by texting GEOFF to 70099. Standard network rates apply.
Geoff Thomas said: "I’m really looking forward to coming back to Selhurst Park - the club and the fans have always been absolutely fantastic and I know they’ll help make 'Give blood cancer the red card' a huge success. During my battle with leukaemia the bravery of other patients I met inspired me to do as much as I can to make sure others survive - I know I’m very lucky to still be here today."
Phil Alexander, Chief Executive of Crystal Palace, said: "We have worked alongside Geoff throughout many fundraising initiatives as he continues to put tremendous effort into exploring ways of finding cures for these threatening illnesses. The club are delighted to be using our Family Day event as a launch for this latest Football vs Blood Cancer campaign.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Club Sponsors, GAC logistics, for giving up the prime space on the front of the players' shirts on the day, to give further awareness to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. The shirts themselves will be put up for auction after the game with all proceeds going to Geoff's charity."
Season ticket holders can bring a guest for just £10 at Crystal Palace’s Family Day on Saturday 2 April and there is also a "Kids for a Quid" deal available with each adult ticket purchased.
Thomas was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2003, less than a year after hanging up his boots. He received a life-saving stem cell transplant from his sister in 2004 and has been in remission ever since. Geoff is now working with Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research to make sure blood cancer patients have access to effective new treatments as quickly as possible.