Geoff Robert Thomas is a former professional footballer who played for Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest among other clubs and was capped nine times by England in the 1990s.
In 2003, a year after retiring from the game, he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (a form of blood cancer) and given just three months to live. After a stem cell transplant from his sister Kay and treatment from Professor Charlie Craddock CBE, the co-founder of blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia, Geoff entered remission from the disease in January 2005.
Ever since, Geoff has dedicated his life to raising vital funds to help other blood cancer patients now and in the future. In 2005, he set up the Geoff Thomas Foundation and was awarded the Helen Rollason Award at BBC Sports Personality of the Year. He was very proud to have played a key role in the delivery of the national Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) which has driven the great progress in blood cancer treatment in the last decade. Geoff has cycled the Tour de France on three separate occasions and in 2017 he took on the biggest of all his challenges in the saddle…
With three other amateur cyclists, Geoff rode all three Grand Tours; the Giro D’Italia, Tour de France and La Vuelta one day ahead of the professionals. They rode 10,403km and are the first amateur team to complete this remarkable feat.
All funds raised from this event went into the £3.4m expansion to double the capacity of the Centre for Clinical Haematology which reopened to treat patients in January 2018, and was official opened by HRH The Earl of Wessex in June 2018.
In October 2017 Geoff helped Cure Leukaemia secure a two-year national Charity of the Year partnership with Deutsche Bank, which was worth in excess of £2m and he was also awarded an honourary doctorate by Birmingham City University for his services to charity.
As a result of Deutsche Bank’s support, Cure Leukaemia began funding the National Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) network in January 2020. Cure Leukaemia now funds specialist research nurses in 12 blood cancer centres across the UK. These nurses, co-ordinated by the TAP’s Hub based at the Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, connect patients from a catchment area of over 20 million people with potentially life-saving treatments for blood cancer through clinical trials.
In 2021, Geoff completed his final Tour de France challenge, ‘The Tour 21’ with Cure Leukaemia announced at the first ever official charity partner of the Tour de France in the UK. Geoff won’t be cycling the event in future years but will be heavily involved in the event as a mentor to future cyclists taking on the challenge.
Geoff’s family have always been involved with his fundraising and the charity’s work. His daughter Georgia worked for Cure Leukaemia before moving to Australia, his other daughter Maddie has raised funds through her candle business and wife Julie joined Georgia and Maddie in completing London 2 Paris in 2015.