Dean Thompson was a competitor.
Most of the time, it showed on the sporting field. Whether it was soccer, basketball, rugby union, or cycling, he was first into the fray and never gave anything less than his utter best.
His competitive spirit was not confined to sport. He was also a determined businessman; and a loving father and husband.
But when he was diagnosed with throat cancer two years ago, Thompson began the fight of his life. It was a fight he would lose on May 20, 2019, after a year of immunotherapy treatment.
Because of a recessive gene, Thompson was unable to undergo chemotherapy, as most cancer patients do. Immunotherapy was first suggested at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse in Camperdown, NSW.
"It looked like he wasn't going to make it out of there in late February 2018, and then they suggested [immunotherapy] as the last port of call," said Rob Sheekey, Thompson's brother-in-law and close friend.
As the treatment is not covered by any government subsidies, Thompson and his family paid out of pocket for it.
The treatment seemed to have some impact, with Thompson gifted one more year with his wife, Shenoah, and four-year-old son, Brooks.
"It gave him quality of life and certainly extended his life for the 14 months we were lucky to have," Sheekey said.
But by the start of May this year, the positive impacts of the treatment began to fade. After a last-ditch attempt at chemotherapy, Thompson passed away.
"He was probably the toughest competitor I've ever come across," Sheekey said.
"He showed that right through until the end, how long and hard he fought.
"I think his toughness and his competitiveness - he was pretty cheeky as well - they're all things that will live with everyone [who knew him]."
Thompson's life was commemorated by Goulburn's rugby union team, the Dirty Reds, with whom he played about 60 matches, during their clash against ADFA on Saturday.
There was a minute of silence prior to the first grade and women's matches, and all three grades wore armbands.
Along with his rugby union record, Thompson was a talented soccer player from his youth, a quality basketballer, and highly skilled cyclist. In Sheekey's words: "Basically every sport he dabbled in, he was good at."
At the age of 45, Thompson had many achievements of which he was proud. He had a family, a successful plumbing business, and plenty of loving friends.
But he had one goal that even his renowned fighting spirit couldn't see him attain.
"He was looking forward to Brooks' school induction at St Joseph's," Sheekey said. "It was meant to be [on Wednesday]; he was trying to make it to that."
On behalf of the Thompson family, he thanked the people of Goulburn for their support at this time, and acknowledges Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, Marrima Medical Centre and Goulburn Palliative Care for taking excellent care of Dean.
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