THE incredible life story of St Helens icon Steve Prescott will be published this summer after the emotional final chapter of his autobiography was written by his wife Linzi.
The book, written by Steve over the final seven years of his life as he battled cancer, is expected to be an unflinching, courageous and tear-jerking account of how he faced up to the disease, pseudomyxoma peritonei.
It includes chapters that the father-of-two wrote in the final months of his life as he awaited the pioneering ‘world first’ multi organ transplant in Churchill hospital, Oxford, last autumn that he hoped would save his life.
Steve came through the 32-hour operation but later died aged 39 of graft-versus-host-disease, a complication that can follow a transplant.
Speaking about the autobiography, to be titled One in a Million, Linzi told the Star: “People think they already know Stephen’s story because it has been covered by newspapers and television, but I don’t think anybody knew what he was going through, apart from me who was living with him every day.
“He was really quite a private person and that is why it was a bit of a shock to me when he decided to tell everything. During those last few months at Oxford he changed and really wanted everyone to know how ill he was and what he was going through.
“It is certainly not a normal sporting book, it is the whole picture. As well as his rugby career, it details what he has been through from the diagnosis in 2006 through to the transplant in 2013.”
“It is a very personal book, told in his words, which people will know as soon as they read it – they will hear Stephen’s voice.”
News that the book is now in the hands of publishers emerged after an eight-strong team from the Steve Prescott Foundation kept up the legacy of the charity’s founder by trekking from Lands End to John O’ Groats over 11 days.
Their efforts have raised in excess of £30,000 and publicity of travelling up the country and broadening knowledge of the charity significantly, as were the wishes of Steve.
The team was made up of ex Saints players Tommy Martyn, Paul Sculthorpe, Lee Briers, former Premier League football referee and cancer survivor Mark Halsey, SPF chairman Mike Denning, committee member Ade Cunliffe and State of Mind Trustee Phil Cooper.
Former rugby player Jimmy Gittins, who is paraplegic after breaking his neck, completed the challenge using a specially designed hand cycle.
A delegation of the walkers were due to attend a civic reception laid on by the Mayor of St Helens Andy Bowden last night.
Tommy Martyn’s tweet after reaching John O’Groats was typical of the emotion that drove them on through their mighty challenge.
He wrote: “There was plenty of pain along the way but it was nothing compared to what our mate went through.”
Steve was assisted in writing his life story, which also charts his childhood in St Helens and rugby league career, by the St Helens Star sports editor Mike Critchley.