The incredible story of how ex-St Helens and Widnes forward turned tragic road accident and death of his mother into a charity helping young people living in poverty

THERE are some things in life that you come across which are scarcely believable – just the like the story of one former St Helens and Widnes Vikings forward.

Grand Final and World Club Challenge winner, John Stankevitch, went through hell back in 2015 when the news of his mum’s death came filtering through.

A tragic road traffic accident, which saw a man have a seizure at the wheel of his car before hitting Stankevitch’s mother on the pavement, turned the 43-year-old’s life upside down.

It is a difficult moment to document for Stankevitch.

“My mum was killed in a road traffic accident back in 2015,” Stankevitch told League Express.

“She was walking her dogs along the footpath in Widnes and a man had a fit at the wheel and mounted the kerb.

“He hit my mum and dad from behind. My dad was injured but my mum was killed.”

From such a tragic story, Stankevitch tried out a different career path in his mother’s name, setting up the Cathie Stankevitch Foundation and taking it to heights which he never thought possible.

The charity removes the barriers encountered by disadvantaged people in order to improve the quality of their life, recycling sports equipment to Halton young people living in poverty and unable to purchase it.

“In her memory I set up a charity – the Cathie Stankevitch Foundation. We initially started out helping local kids get involved in sport by supplying football boots and sports kit. It’s grown phenomenally well and it’s supported now by New Balance.

“We gift a lot of sportswear out. That’s what I did in the immediate aftermath of my mum’s death. About four years ago we expanded and now we do property clean outs with cleaning contracts in social housing.

“It’s full-time, I think we do about 80 or 90 hours a week.”

Incredible, absolutely incredible.