Mickey Thomas' celebratory walk to the summit of Snowdon
Welsh football legend Mickey Thomas describes the surgeon who saved his life a ‘Miracle Maker’.
On June 18, the 67-year-old will reunite with his surgeon, Dr Andrew Baker, from Wrexham Maelor Hospital, and will walk up Snowdon, accompanied by 200 of Mr Thomas’s friends, hospital staff and there’s even a rumour that a few former Manchester United players could be joining them.
The much-loved former player was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in 2019, his symptoms included having difficulty swallowing and he had lost weight.
His tumour was so big that his ribs had to be broken to remove it, but luckily Dr Baker managed to remove all of it.
Mickey who played for Manchester United, Everton, Chelsea and Wrexham amongst other teams, has just undergone a six month scan to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned and was given the good news that he’s still clear of the disease.
Capped 51-times by Wales in a career spanning 22-years, Mickey, from Mochdre in Conwy county, received messages of support from across the world during his illness, including from former footballers such as John Terry, Ashley Young and even received a call from Sir Alex Ferguson himself who described him as a “fighter”, which boosted his spirits immeasurably at the time.
“I’m incredibly lucky to be here because the stats aren’t exactly great for what I had, only about 30% make it and I had such a big tumour they couldn’t even get the camera down me,” he explained.
“But the care I received at Wrexham Maelor was incredible and Dr Baker is most definitely a miracle maker
“I collapsed in hospital when they told me as it was such a huge shock, and I remember driving home in a daze as I didn’t know how I was going to tell my family and friends.
He added: “I never thought it could be cancer as I was always so fit.”
When he was in the intensive care unit following his six hour operation, Mickey remembers Dr Baker telling him the good news that he’d managed to remove the tumour. He also had to have 18 bouts of chemotherapy, which left him at the time too weak to walk.
But now he feels strong enough to walk up Snowdon and hopes to raise thousands of pounds for the Upper G.I. Surgical Unit at Wrexham Maelor, which will benefit other patients like him, who are being treated and cared for by the wonderful staff at the hospital.
“As well as Dr Baker I’d really like to thank Michelle Curtis, the site lead nurse at Upper GI surgery, at Wrexham Maelor,” said Mickey.
“This walk is not just about raising money for the hospital, it’s about raising awareness of the incredible work these people do.
“The reality is I used to go home after playing a game of football, people like Michelle and Dr Baker go home after saving lives.”