But Lampson also changed in good ways. He finished treatment in February 2008, though he considers his first clean scan on Sept. 24, 2007, as his official cancer-free date. He said beating cancer gave him the focus and drive needed to become a professional goalkeeper.
“I matured incredibly quickly, found out what my priorities were, my values in life, my morals in life, at 18 years old,” Lampson said. “It made me a much better person because of that.”
Springing into action
By June 2008, Lampson was training with the Columbus Crew academy, working to regain his fitness and stamina after gaining 80 pounds during treatment. Still dealing with medical complications his first season at Northern Illinois, he transferred to Ohio State. Columbus signed him as a homegrown player ahead of the 2012 MLS season.
During that rookie year, the mom of one of Lampson’s close friends from high school died of to leukemia, making him realize this illness didn’t just affect him.
Matt Lampson didn’t need to make it to a patient’s bedside before he brightened someone’s day.
On a recent Tuesday afternoon in the lobby of the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, the Minnesota United goalkeeper ran into Catarina Gomez, an 18-year-old he’d first met earlier this year during one of Gomez’s chemotherapy treatments. She has since attended all seven United home games, including the opener as Lampson’s guest.
The pair chatted before Gomez became the first of several patients that day to turn the tables on the professional athlete and sign the back of his orange No. 28 jersey.
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