On Thanksgiving Day in 1971, Cowboys rookie Ike Thomas from tiny Bishop College returned the game’s opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. For nearly four decades, that’s been Thomas’ most cherished Thanksgiving Day memory.

Until now. That’s because there have been times this year when he didn’t know if he’d share another turkey day with his daughters — Andrea and Nikki — each of whom is fighting an insidious strain of cancer.