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Thomas Honoured With Special Achievement Award

13 May 2015

Former Crystal Palace and England midfielder Geoff Thomas has been honoured with a Special Achievement Award at the club's Awards Night.

The Eagles legend was originally handed the accolade for his playing career back in 2008, but this second prize is in recognition of his phenomenal fundraising efforts for numerous charities linked to leukemia, a disease that he has successfully battled.

In July he will cycle from London to Paris alongside 300 other volunteers before taking on the Tour de France trail in an attempt to raise nearly £1 million for the Cure Leukemia charity, and these extraordinary feats meant he was a worthy recipient of the award.

On stage at the Fairfield Halls, the 50-year-old said: "I've been clear of the disease now for 10 years but it is a constant reminder of why I have to do this. I was given three months to live but I was given so much support. From the moment I was told I had gone into remission I just felt I needed to do something.

"That was the first time I got on a bike and it was probably a stupid idea! But I've been doing it now for 10 years to try and help save lives.

"The system we've set up has helped provide 120 million worth of free drugs to the NHS but before that there was simply a lack of infrastructure. We helped to unite those people and hopefully we'll see a dramatic reduction of people suffering with the disease. 30,000 of adults still get diagnosed every year with 50% losing their battle so there's still a long way to go. 

"It's been 10 years since we did the Tour de France so we're aiming to do it again and stay ahead of the peloton by a day.

Thomas played 249 times for the Eagles between 1987 and 1993, scoring 35 times, and skippered the side in both the 1990 FA Cup final defeat to Manchester United as well as the Zenith Data Systems Cup triumph against Everton a year later.

He also won nine England caps during his time in SE25 but since his retirement the 50-year-old has launched Geoff Thomas Foundation to help raise money to support research into the disease.

 He has embarked on many charity bike rides, and in 2005 completed the Tour de France route which raised £150,000, and will tackle it again in a couple of months time to raise further funds.

To donate to Geoff's cause, please click here.

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