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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Prescott faces toughest fight

Former league star Steve Prescott (picture courtesy of Hull FC)
Prescott is hoping to play at his fund-raising match at Knowsley Road
Former St Helens and Hull full-back Steve Prescott was renowned as one of the bravest players in rugby league before injury ended his career in 2004.

But last year, the 32-year-old was diagnosed with pseudomyxoma peritonei, a rare form of stomach cancer.

Since then, the world of rugby league has rallied round to offer help.

Earlier this year former St Helens team-mate Tommy Martyn auctioned off his 1996 Challenge Cup final medal while Hull captain Lee Radford and Great Britain prop Stuart Fielden raised more than 50,000 after staging a charity boxing match.

On 22 April, St Helens will stage a fund-raising match between a Legends side and Saints' 1996 Challenge Cup-winning team at Knowsley Road that will see some of the biggest names in the sport taking part.

606: DEBATE
CO

In a heart-wrenching interview, Prescott spoke to BBC Radio Five Live Sport about his battle against cancer and expressed his desire to play in the fund-raising game.

By Steve Prescott
Former Great Britain full-back

The last few months have been very emotional for me.

I've had so much help from people I've known from the past but also from people that I've never met before and that's been very difficult to get my head around.

I definitely want to get out on the field and get a shirt on again

You ask yourself 'why would somebody want to do that?'. It could be to do with rugby but it could also be to do with cancer.

Cancer's affected a lot of people - it's a big nasty thing and this is how people deal with it. They want to help other people who it affects.

It's been fantastic that people want to help me, and me and my family really appreciate it. It overwhelms you.

The game will be fantastic. There's some great stars playing.

I get goose pimples thinking about that 1996 St Helens team. I've watched the Challenge Cup final at Wembley numerous times - the team of that year was immense.

I definitely want to get out on the field and get a shirt on again.

My last game of rugby league didn't exactly go to plan. I broke my kneecap playing for Lancashire against Yorkshire. It's just one of those things but I've not played rugby league since.

We'll just have to see what state I'm in at the time. I know I've got a long road ahead, I've got chemotherapy that starts in Manchester three days before the game.

I would say having played rugby league is a help for my situation now. It's shaped me as a man and as a person - it's built my character.

I've got to keep going and keep fighting as I did when I played the game

When I first started off at St Helens I was told I wasn't big enough but I overcame that. I had quite a successful career.

This is another challenge. It's a lot harder than playing against Bradford, Leeds or Wigan but I've got to give it a go.

I'm very appreciative of people who are trying to help me, there's people at the supporters' club who never knew me as a person - they watched from the stands and it must have given them a lot more pleasure than I thought.

For them to do something to help me is overwhelming.

These funds take the financial burden off my mind and I can concentrate on the treatment.

You've got to be positive. I've got a wife and two young kids.

The kids don't know anything so I can't change, I've got to keep going and keep fighting as I did when I played the game.

If you go into something thinking negative thoughts then it's not going to happen for you and it's the same with the treatment and cancer I've got.

I've got to attack it before it attacks me.


Tickets for the Legends v St Helens' 1996 Challenge Cup charity match, which kicks off at 1400 BST on 22 April at Knowsley Road, are available from the XIII Heroes website

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



SEE ALSO
Edwards set for special return
20 Mar 07 |  Rugby League
Radford wins 50,000 charity bout
03 Feb 07 |  Rugby League
League boys ready to rumble
01 Feb 07 |  Rugby League
Martyn sells medal for team-mate
15 Jan 07 |  Rugby League
Injury finishes Prescott
18 Jun 04 |  Hull


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