DUNDEE United youngster Jordan Moore has revealed how his brave persistence potentially staved of the threat of cancer -–and now he is focused on living his dream with the Tannadice club.
The 20-year-old endured his worst nightmare when he was diagnosed with skin cancer in January after previously being told by doctors he had no cause for concern. The United prospect was naturally shattered when medics broke the news to him, but with the help of his close family and team-mates he has battled through the scare to carry on winning his fight against the deadly disease.
The Glasgow-born forward, who has set his sights on making the breakthrough in Jackie McNamara’s team next season, admits only his determination to get a second opinion helped him get through the other side.
Moore said: “I had a mole. It was just a little freckle to start with but it grew into a mole. People were telling me to get it checked because it was getting bigger but I put it off. It started bleeding so I went to the doctor, but he said it was nothing.
“I actually went to three or four doctors and they all said the same thing – none of them thought it was anything to worry about. They thought it looked like a regular mole. But I kept going back and they took a biopsy in January.
“Once they sent that away I got a call to come in for the results. I took my mum, Angela, and dad, Gordon, with me and they told me I had melanoma skin cancer, which is the worst kind you can get. The doctors were shocked when it came back as cancer.
“I wasn’t prepared for it at all because even when I got the biopsy done they said there was a 90 per cent chance it would be nothing. I didn’t know a thing about it so I Googled it as soon as I came out of the surgery, but that was the worst thing to do. I just read the first line and closed the page because I didn’t want to read it. I knew I had to be strong for my mum and dad but they burst into tears, which was harder for me.
“I went out and spoke to Neil McCann [Dunfermline assistant manager] on the phone and that’s when I started crying. I didn’t know what else to do, my emotions took over.
“All I can say to people is that if they have any moles they think might be something to go and get it checked out.”
Moore has now set his sights on getting back to doing what he does best after a successful spell on loan with the Pars last season. And he insists his burning desire to make a name for himself was what helped drive him on through his darkest hour.
Moore said: “I want to get fit for pre-season and score goals for United this season. I think if I get the chance I’ll do it. That’s what drove me on, being back playing for United is the goal I set myself right throughout the whole thing. I feel bad for people who don’t have goals to aim at because it must be even more difficult for them to cope with something like this. I don’t know how they deal with it because mentally cancer is at you constantly. I was able to push myself on by thinking about my football.
“I had two operations, the second one lasted for 11 hours and was major surgery. They took lymph nodes out of my neck and I have scars on my neck. I don’t have any nerves on one side of my face and my bottom lip doesn’t work properly. But that’s nothing, nothing will stop me playing football. I’ve had the all-clear now. I get scanned every three months from now on and have to check myself every week in case anything comes back. But, hopefully, that’s it now and I can focus on playing for United. I’ve just been looking forward to getting back to playing football, that’s all I want to do.”
Moore was humbled when his United team-mates wore T-shirts supporting him during their emphatic SPFL win over Motherwell back in April. He said: “It was a great feeling to see the lads wearing the T-shirts for me. When Nadir [Ciftci] scored and lifted his T-shirt up it definitely made me feel stronger. It made me know that everyone was behind me pushing me on.
“I grew up with John Souttar and the rest of the lads so they arranged it. I’ll never be able to repay everyone for the support they gave me. Dave Bowman was brilliant, so was Craig Reynolds, Neil McCann and Stevie Campbell. They were in touch with my mum and dad every day and I know they really appreciated that.”
As Moore recovered from his operations, he admits the sight of his fellow players coming to visit him in hospital was one which made him feel understandably emotional. He said: “They came in a mini-bus. The gaffer and the whole coaching staff came as well. Sean Dillon was up straight away and the Dunfermline lads came along too. There were so many people there all the nurses swarmed up to the ward as well. Sometimes I had ten or 15 people in the room but the nurses didn’t bother.”