Just six years ago, Columbus Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson was battling Stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma.
But through chemotherapy and radiation treatment, he beat the disease and went on to play goalkeeper at Ohio State and the Columbus Crew Soccer Academy.
In the 2013 season, which has already seen Lampson make his MLS debut for the Crew, the Columbus native is helping to raise awareness for the disease that he battled through high school. As the Spokesperson for the Central Ohio Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Chapter, Lampson helps to raise awareness for blood cancers, and gives back to children who are experiencing what he did.
“One of my favorite things to do is every single home game, the LLS brings in what we call a Hero to each game with their family,” said Lampson, who wears bright green goalkeeper gloves with green ribbons for lymphoma awareness. “And that's either a little boy or girl survivor or patient, and they come out on the field after the game and they get to talk to me.
"And it's a phenomenal feeling because very few times have I actually seen and felt a difference in a life that you're making, and it means the world to these kids.”
For Lampson's work with the children and the LLS, he has been awarded the MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Month award for the Month of September. While honors like these aren't Lampson's goal, the 'keeper said that he hopes it can benefit awareness even more.
“I don't do this type of stuff for accolades, but it's an honor to get regardless,” he said. “I'm really proud of what I've been doing with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, so I'm just hoping that this raises even more awareness and that this brings even more eyes and ears to the cause."
Lampson's first season as an LLS spokesperson has come in the same year as his first eight MLS starts for the Crew, where he has gone 4-4-0 in his spell in the stead of injured veteran goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.
Lampson says that he will work equally as hard with the award under his belt, and that he plans to continue doing more and more for LLS and raising awareness.
“To get a personal recognition is always a nice thing, but that's no the reason I do it,” he said. “So that's not going to stop what I'm doing, and I'm going to continue to do as much as I can for blood cancer awareness.”