Wodonga Raiders’ overseas import Callum Prosser will carry a heavy heart into Saturday’s opening round after his father died on Wednesday night.
Phillip Prosser succumbed to oesphaegeal cancer. He was 65.
“He was a brilliant man, he was more than an idol, he was everything to me,” Callum Prosser said.
His father was diagnosed with the cancer in January.
“When I arrived in Melbourne, I rang dad straight away to let him know that I had arrived safely,” he said.
“But after about my first week, mum rang and said things had turned nasty.
“Dad had bleeding on his heart, and the doctors said he had two options.
“He could have emergency surgery, but that would have severed his spinal cord and rendered him a paraplegic.
“Or he could stop all treatments. It was totally Dad’s decision.”
Phillip Prosser continued to decline rapidly and Callum spoke to him just hours before he died.
“Something was telling me I had to ring Dad on that Wednesday night, I don’t know if it was dad mentally telling me to ring him, just so I could speak to him one last time.” he said.
“His voice was so weak and he was suddenly a frail man.
“But it was brilliant to talk to him. I spoke to him for around an hour.
“I told him that I loved him, and he told me that he loved me.”
Prosser admits cancer has been a family curse.
His mum battled Hodgkins lymphoma, while his brother was given little chance of surviving the same illness. Both survived.
Prosser’s immediate thought was to rush home, but his father made him promise one thing.
“He said, under no circumstances, are you to come home,” he said.
“He said you stay there and make as many runs and take as many wickets as possible.
“Make me proud son.”
Prosser said he still would have got the first flight home but for the support of Raiders’ player Ben Dove and Scott Vincent.
“They are both legends,” he said.
“Scott has been a massive support, while Ben dropped everything for me.
“I was crying on his shoulder.
“Ben and his wife Sharna have five kids, and it’s actually helped to be around the family.”
Prosser plays for Hartlepool in the north of England, where his father is a club legend.
“Dad lived for cricket, and everyone around the club aspired to be like him, the way he helped others,” he said.
Prior to the club’s season-opener against East Albury, Raiders’ players will assemble for a team photo, wearing black armbands.
That will be used on the back of the church service program at Phillip’s farewell.
“I can’t praise the Raiders’ club enough, they have been so supportive,” he said.
“And I know Dad will be looking down on me.
“And I promise that I will try to make him as proud as possible.”