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Since undergoing a successful bone marrow transplant in May 2002, Steve Rom has made it his life’s mission to share his unique story of survival, one that wouldn’t have been possible without the help of his friend, Rod Payne.

There are many cancer survivors with endearing stories, but the countless motivational and survival techniques that Steve learned from Rod -- before, during, and after his ten-month battle with leukemia -- makes this particular story one that needs to be told.

This became clear after Steve wrote the newspaper story that his and Rod’s upcoming book, PLAY 2 INSPIRE: A True Story of Friendship, Football, and Life, is based.

Published by the Arizona Daily Sun on Dec. 28, 2003, it ran as the front-page Sunday feature story and commemorated the two-year anniversary of Steve’s diagnosis of ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia).

In the weeks and months after the story’s publication, readers of the Flagstaff- and northern Arizona-based paper stopped Steve on the streets, as well as in restaurants and at sporting events, to tell him how “moving” and “inspirational” they found it, and how they were going to show it to a friend or family member dealing with cancer or some other life difficulty. Few of these readers were sports fans, but rather those who could simply relate to an endearing story of friendship.

Since those profound moments, Steve has gone straight to the source, visiting cancer patients around the country who are about to undergo their own bone marrow transplants.

Armed with a football metaphor supplied to him by Rod, Steve assures patients that, with hope and faith, they, too, will win their battle -- as long as they know that, no matter what happens, they will be ahead by the end of the game.

“If you’re down 21-to-nothing in the first half, what are you going to do?” Steve asks them. “Quit? Go home? No! You’re going to summon everything you have, everything you’ve worked for in practice, in your entire life, to rally yourself, and do whatever it takes to be ahead by the end of the game. Period!”

After hearing those impassioned words, patients have said that, of the few people that give them hope, Steve is one of them.

Thanks to Steve and Rod’s story, patients will realize that their obstacles, those that once seemed so insurmountable, so daunting and unknown, are now clear in view, exposed and ready to be defeated.

Steve can be reached at 561.394.0791 or by e-mail at steve@centeredbyamiracle.com