Retired Super Eagles and Wolverhampton goalkeeper Carl Ikeme‘s 1-year journey of beating cancer is an inspiring one.
The footballer has in an interview with Guardian discussed how he felt when he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia.
He’s always been a positive person, he shared, but the diagnosis left him devastated.
It was the doctor at Wolves. I remember him talking about Stiliyan Petrov and Geoff Thomas, and I knew what it was. I was devastated.
He shared that at first, he thought, “Why me?” But then he realized he’s had a blessed life, had lived his dream, so why not him.
The first day or two maybe, you do think: ‘Why me? I’m not a bad person.’ But then afterwards, I thought: ‘I’ve been overly blessed in so many ways that other people haven’t. I had a baby daughter, another one coming, I got to live my dream by playing football for a living, so why not me?’
His children, though, were all the motivation he needed. He wanted to see them grow up, and that was enough to push him.
I was 31 when I was diagnosed – it’s young. There’s a lot of life to live at that age. Obviously you want to be around to see your children grow up – and you don’t need any more motivation than that to pull through it.
He’s extremely grateful for all the support he received, he said, from all the fans who shared their love through social media to other footballers who visited in the hospital or sang in the tribute “One Carl Ikeme.”
[Gianluigi Buffon, Iker Casillas and Peter Schmeichel] are the three keepers that I really admire, so to hear them actually say your name and show their support, it was crazy. [Stiliyan Petrov] came to the hospital. He had the same sort of leukaemia as me so he was letting me know what was in store. It was nice to have someone who had been through it, who could talk about it and give you guidance at certain points of the year. He could really relate.
And when I got to Manchester, Joe Thompson [the Rochdale midfielder] was getting treated there, so he came in to see me. They both offered their support and I knew I could call them if I needed to ask them anything, so it was good to have that.
Now that Carl Ikeme has beaten the dreaded disease, the future is all laid out in front of him, and he’s ready to savour it. He said:
It’s just enjoyable to wake up with your children every day. Little things, like eating food at home, enjoying being around Saba, taking a walk to the park and just watching the kids run about – that’s all I need.