Carl Ikeme had the world in his hands.
A lovely wife and daughter, and a new baby just weeks away.
After years of incredibly hard work to overcome so many career obstacles, he was the first choice goalkeeper for Wolverhampton Wanderers, about to embark on one of the most exciting periods in the football club’s recent history.
He had also, in a story as immaculately timed as it was brilliantly romantic, become a regular international, turning out for his beloved Nigeria who were ready to realise the dreams of a nation and make a push for the 2018 World Cup.
Ikeme was 31-years-old, and had so much to be thankful for.
All of a sudden, one July afternoon in 2017, all that was taken away.
A phone call from Wolves club doctor Matt Perry, which Ikeme answered on the car park of Homebase, broke the devastating news that he had leukaemia.
No longer was it a battle to keep his place for Wolves and Nigeria, it was now a fight to save his life and be ready for the gruelling and invasive treatment that would be required to beat blood cancer.
‘Why Not Me’ is Carl Ikeme’s story. The story of how he dealt with such a potentially-crushing development and set about coming to terms with tackling the dreaded diagnosis.
How he somehow had to break the news to his family, and how his second daughter was born – over 100 miles away – just a week into his treatment.
How he very quickly accepted that diagnosis, ‘welcomed’ cancer into his life, but vowed that his mind would never, ever let him down.
‘Why Not Me’ is a no-holds-barred account of Ikeme’s painful – often brutal – battle with the physical and psychological demons of leukaemia.
But it is also littered with stories of hope and courage, and the power of keeping a positive mindset.
There is also powerful testimony from Carl’s partner Saba, and mother Jackie, on how those closest are affected by the diagnosis and treatment when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer.
And then there is the football.
How Ikeme emerged from a tough and modest upbringing to reach the top of his sport, playing a part in two Wolves promotions, enjoying a brief taste of the Premier League and securing cult status in Nigeria.
Written in conjunction with former journalist and Head of Media at Wolves, Paul Berry, and including a foreword from Carl’s cousin and Casualty star Charles ‘Chucky’ Venn, ‘Why Not Me’ is an extraordinary and inspirational story which looks at every aspect of the most important ‘save’ Ikeme has ever made and delivers a healthy sense of perspective to our everyday lives.
Published by Six-Four Publications, ‘Why Not Me’ retails at £18.99 and is available from the Wolves megastore, Waterstones in Wolverhampton and the Merry Hill Centre, and via Amazon here.