Rochdale star battles out cancer twice and scores winner to save relegation

Joe Thompson inspires Rochdale to ensure a League One safety.


Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.

The famous quote of great Bill Shankly still inspires many to fell in love with this beautiful game and even more when they witness exemplary individuals battling with life-threatening diseases but never give up the desire of returning to football pitch one day. This is indeed motivating from every aspect but the story of Joe Thompson adds even more to it when he scored the winning goal for Rochdale and dragged them out of the drop zone to ensure safety.

But what’s so special about Joe Thompson here? Many might not be aware of the whereabouts of the lower leagues of English football and have no clue who the guy is. The 29-year-old midfielder has returned to football after defeating cancer twice within the space of three years and inspired the Dale to retain their League One status single-handedly.

Thompson was diagnosed with nodular sclerosis Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare form of cancer, back in November 2013 during his days at Tranmere Rovers. But he did not let his football dreams perish and overcame the ill-luck seven months later. It was difficult for him to resurrect his football career yet he did not hang up his boots and kept on playing for the fourth tier and non-league sides to regain his fitness. He was then recalled by his boyhood side Rochdale back on August 7, 2016, in a short-term deal but stepped up his comeback with quite a few promising displays for the League One strugglers. Everything was going right for Thompson until 16 March 2017, when he announced via club website about being diagnosed with cancer yet again.

“Cancer felt like a snake wrapping around my neck… I was determined to win”

The player shared the nightmares in a heartfelt interview back in February defeating all obstacles for the second time. He returned to the pitch this season and the winning goal against Charlton was probably written in the stars. Thompson is the warrior who dared to dream and his heroics will inspire the others to fight back in life amid extreme adversity.