Former Newcastle striker Anth Lormor says that cancer ‘saved him’ after he finished his playing career and his life was in a mess.
Anth Lormor was a product of the Wallsend Boys Club production line and signed for Newcastle United in the late 1980s, coming on as a substitute for cult hero Mirandinha in his first appearance for the senior team.
After a handful of appearances and a few goals for United, Lormor dropped down the divisions to Lincoln for a nominal fee and went on to have an excellent career at a number of clubs below the top level, including Hartlepool in his latter days.
Howeve, after finishing his playing days, Lormor found life difficult to deal with and then on top of everything his mother back in Newcastle was diagnosed with cancer.
Only a year after she died, Anth Lormor himself was found to have follicular lymphoma in December 2013 and the now 44 year old now looks back at that as the moment that changed his life, for the better.
The former player has recovered and now just trekked across the Arctic Circle on a dog sled and raised over six thousand pounds for charity.
Now based in Derbyshire, Lormor wants to use his life experience to help the 95% of football players who aren’t secure financially when they retire from playing and need to sort a new career out, in order that they can live.
Speaking to the Derby Telegraph, Anth Lormor gave his moving story:
“After I was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in my neck, my main priority was getting well. So, after radiotherapy, and being told that I was well again, I decided to do something really worthwhile.
“The cancer, I suppose, gave me a wake-up call. It made me realise that there was more to life than football and making money.
“It made me think about all the things I’d been through and I learnt that helping people was what I really wanted to do with my life.”
“I had not been in great shape, I was 18 stone and had been depressed and drinking heavily. Leaving football and trying to adjust into a more normal way of life had been hard for me.
“I’d played for Newcastle, Preston and Hartlepool. After that, I’d been in and out of sales job and life had had its ups and downs.
“I’d been declared bankrupt twice and had two failed marriages under my belt.
“When my mum was diagnosed with cancer, I went back to Newcastle to be with her.
“The year after she died, I was told I had cancer. It was another blow to be honest and, for a while, I wondered how I was going to get through it.
“With the support of friends, I fought it and, when I was told that the cancer was gone, I knew I had to do some positive things with the rest of my life.”
The Arctic challenge:
“We stayed in wooden lodges but there was no running water or electricity. We had to fetch water from the rivers and eat our meals by candlelight and oil lamps.
“It was our job to make sure our dogs were fed and given water at the end of each day. Then they were kept in pens outside.
“In the evening, we were given meat and vegetables which we had to cook. But, during the day, when we were travelling around, we lit fires and thawed out frozen soup in a pan.
“It was freezing cold and we had triple layers of thermals on, I worried constantly about falling off and landing in the snow.
“The dogs are trained to keep on running so that was always niggling away in the back of my mind.
“For me, this trip has been part of my recovery. Now it’s about getting on with life and appreciating the little things.
“When you are a young football player, like I was, you don’t have time to think about what you are going to do in the future.
“Your life revolves around the game and all the pressures associated with it.
“But, when your career ends, like mine did, you really don’t know what to do.
“I started looking for work within the world of football, but all the people who you were once associated with no longer answer their phones.
“You feel like you’ve been left out to dry and most professional players do not have a back-up plan.
“Only five per cent of professional football players do not have to continue working when they retire from football.
“That figure means that there are several thousand players who need to think about life after the game. I didn’t. I ended up broke, depressed and drinking far too much. It’s not what I wanted to do but, after football, I didn’t know what to do.
“Going to school and continuing with an education is the right thing to do. But how many young players do that?
“Cancer saved me. It gave me something to think about and, when I got well, I knew I had to do something to help people.
“Raising this money for charity has meant everything to me. It has kept me sane and opened my eyes to other opportunities.
“I’ve realised that helping people is what I want to do. Fast cars and stacks of cash does not really make you happy.
“I had that once and now it’s gone. But ask me when I was most happy and I’d say now.
“I want to give something back to the world and spend my time working with people who need a friend.”