Steve Prescott's book will take reader through emotional rollercoaster

Steve Prescott MBE - One in a Million

Steve Prescott MBE - One in a Million

First published in Sport

STEVE Prescott's eagerly-awaited autobiography promises to take the reader through an emotional roller-coaster, encompassing the tears of heartbreak and heroism that made up the last seven years of his remarkable life.

"One in a Million", charting the fortunes of the former rugby league international from the moment he was told he had only months to live, will be unveiled, appropriately enough, at the Challenge Cup final at Wembley, where he is still revered for the two tries he scored in St Helens' epic victory over Bradford in 1996.

Wife Linzi, who wrote the last two chapters, said: "Stephen started writing the book in 2007 and it gave him something to do during the chemotherapy sessions.

"He became extremely passionate about it and wanted to tell people what he was really going through behind closed doors and that it wasn't all about endurance challenges and smiling.

"He asked me to finish the book when he became too ill and all the profits will go to our sons Taylor and Koby."

Prescott, who also played for Hull and Wakefield as well as England, Ireland and Great Britain, was given the news that he had a rare form of abdominal cancer the day after his youngest son Koby was born in 2006.

He eventually lost his life, aged 39, last November, three weeks after a 32-hour pioneering transplant operation in which he was given a new stomach, pancreas, abdominal wall and bowel, but not before he left a lasting legacy.

The St Helens-born full-back was dubbed "Stevie Wonder" for dozens of gruelling challenges which raised more than GBP500,000 for The Christie Hospital, Manchester, and the Rugby League charity Try Assist.

He cycled from Lands End to John O'Groats, hiking up Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis en route, and rowed across the English Channel before running the London Marathon for a third time the next day.

Prescott, who was awarded the MBE in 2010, said he was indebted to former Hull player and coach Steve Crooks for providing him with the motivation for his charity work.

"September 8, 2006 should have been the happiest day of our lives with tears flowing freely after Linzi gave birth to Koby," Prescott recalls in the book.

"Within hours the tears were those of fear, worry and pure devastation after being given the crushing news that would turn our lives completely upside down.

"I was told I had tumours everywhere in my abdomen, inoperable and incurable. It's not possible to describe the emotion I went through when I was told I was going to die and not see my boys grow up.

"I went home, shut myself in my room unable to face the world. I wanted to curl up and block everything out.

"Then Steve Crooks, my old coach and friend, came hammering at my front door and made me go and sit downstairs.

"He said: 'Steve if you have got one day, one week or one month I know you will fight it.'

"That is what I needed to hear and that was a real turning point in how I was going to face the world and fight cancer."

Crooks, 56, who is now an England RL performance coach in the Midlands, was assistant to Hull coach Peter Walsh when Prescott moved from St Helens.

He said: "I may have helped In a small way early on but Steve deserves all the credit.

"The fight that came out of him in the last seven years was incredible and inspirational. That is why he survived so long."

The book also describes Steve's early days as a promising soccer player before being rejected and then joining St Helens, where he won two Challenge Cup finals.

He reveals he was "gutted" at his release from St Helens and his devastation after a career-ending knee injury playing for Lancashire against Yorkshire in 2003.

* Steve Prescott: One in a Million with Mike Critchley and Linzi Prescott is published on August 23 by Vertical Editions, GBP17.99, and is available from www.spfund.co.uk and all Super League clubs.

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