The Steve Prescott Foundation and its supported charities have received a huge boost thanks to the extraordinary endurance efforts achieved in the 2.6 charity campaign.
Rugby league legend Paul Sculthorpe alongside fellow ambassadors Pete Stephenson and Jimmy Gittins broke new boundaries of mental and physical resilience with an incredible series of fundraising challenges to hand the SPF a massive £14 thousand and counting for the charities it supports.
With the nation coming together for the 2.6 series, inspired by the London Marathon postponement, the three friends joined forces to raise the bar once more in memory of Steve Prescott.
Sculthorpe, a former Great Britain international and close friend of Steve with whom he ran the London marathon, embarked on a non-stop 26-hour cycle on a watt bike. Scully was joined by friends along the journey which ended at 8am on Sunday morning, and admits that it was one of his toughest challenges to date.
“It was grim but a great challenge,” said Sculthorpe who has completed the Marathon des Sables ultramarathon for the SPF, and was part of the inaugural Challenge Wembley with Steve in 2009.
“There were a few dark spots in the early hours of the morning.”
Gittins and Stephenson are close friends whose lives changed forever after suffering serious spinal injuries. What the pair have achieved since is the kind of inspirational response that was Prescott’s hallmark.
Stephenson suffered a severe spinal cord injury 15 years ago and this week walked 2.6 miles, the furthest he has ever managed since leaving hospital.
“I wanted to walk 2.6m without stopping” said Stephenson who remarkably completed the 900-mile ten-year Challenge Wembley anniversary ride through France with Gittins last summer.
“I got a mile in and thought this is gonna be tough. I hit the wall at two miles and thought how am I gonna do this? You have that battle with your head. The last half mile was me arguing with myself in my head and just getting through that”.
Gittins suffered a life-changing injury in 2002 that left the former player paralysed. He has just walked 26 laps of his home, despite previously only being able to spend five minutes a day upright with a walking stick.
“Of all the things I was told I’d never be able to achieve or do, the last 10 or 11 years being involved with the SPF I’ve managed to achieve these things.
On a normal day I’d use my crutches for five minutes. Here I did 12 to 15 minute laps 26 consecutive times. It felt like someone had a knife in my hamstring and lower back”.
Sculthorpe believes Stephenson and Gittins epitomise what the SPF is all about.
“I met these guys in 2009 on the SPF challenge through France. You see what they’re going through. We’re good friends now. They’ve been in dark places and they’ve come through”.
Both Stephenson and Gittins praise Prescott for helping change their lives for the better since those devastating injuries, and are determined to drive the Foundation from strength to strength.
“Precky joined me on my first walk when I left hospital a year after the injury” Stephenson recalls.
“It was the first time I’d met him and from then on it has just been great everyone jumping on and doing things for the for SPF.
“I lost my dad to cancer, and the RFL Benevolent Fund of course helped me, so anything I can do to give back to these charities I will do.”
Gittins admits he was lost after his injury and the Foundation has provided purpose and focus. “When I got introduced to Steve Prescott I bought into it and respected the man. I’ll always be very thankful for the support he gave me to get structure and direction back in my life.
“The Benevolent Fund has helped me out from day one. I can’t thank Precky enough and long may his legacy continue and I’m sure it will. It is a pleasure and an honour to be part of it.”
You can support:
The Steve Prescott Foundation raises funds for The Christie cancer hospital , the RFL Benevolent Fund and the SPF Special Causes Fund.
Your efforts help lives, and save lives.