Kevin Sinfield vows to continue fundraising until cure for MND is found

The former Leeds and England captain has helped raise over £4.7m in aid of former teammate Rob Burrow

Ian Laybourn
Friday 26 November 2021 17:34
Kevin Sinfield has vowed to continue fundraising until a cure for motor neurone disease is found (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Kevin Sinfield has vowed to continue fundraising until a cure for motor neurone disease is found (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Kevin Sinfield says he will not stop raising funds to fight motor neurone disease until a cure is found.

The former Leeds Rhinos captain helped raise over £2million from his 101-mile run from the home of his current club Leicester Tigers to Headingley at the start of the week, on top of the £2.7m he raised from running seven marathons in seven days last December.

Sinfield’s efforts are in aid of his former teammate Rob Burrow who was diagnosed with MND and given around two years to live in December 2019.

In the immediate aftermath of his latest gruelling challenge, which left him physically ill, Burrow’s father Geoff urged Sinfield to scale back his fund-raising activities but the former England captain insists he is not ready to stop.

“Not until we get a cure,” Sinfield told a press conference on zoom on Friday afternoon. “It’s something I’m passionate about, it’s something the whole team is passionate about.

“When you’ve seen it first hand with Rob and then with so many brilliant, wonderful families along the way, it grips you, it grabs you.

“Geoff has said a number of times ‘you don’t need to keep putting your body through it,’ but sometimes it’s the only way to get people to take note.

“Something I’m really proud of is the ability to educate people that this is a terrible disease and, more importantly, is the people it affects, people can come out of the house now and not be ashamed because people understand what they’ve got and what they’re going through.

“So I don’t think we will ever stop. As I get older, the challenges will have to change because my body won’t be able to cope with some of it but I’ll continue to help and support.

“The big one is that, while Rob is continuing to fight like he has and is doing and while he has been so brave and courageous, it’s only right that his former teammates continue to do what they do as well.”

Sinfield, the seven-time Grand Final winner who says his fundraising efforts are “one of the best things I’ve done in my life”, is already contemplating his next challenge.

“We are going to have a bit of a get-together tomorrow, mainly to celebrate the seven in seven,” he said.

“It was a huge challenge but time is a healer. It’s not put me off going again, I’m looking forward to doing something, what it will be not too sure.”

Sinfield was not well enough to conduct media interviews on Tuesday and three days on says he is still “walking like John Wayne”.

“I’m getting better every day,” he said. “I’m trying to catch up on sleep and my toes have been numb ever since but, from today, I’m starting to feel them again.

A support banner at Headingley Stadium as Kevin Sinfield completes the Extra Mile Challenge (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“My quads have still a bit to go, I’m still walking like John Wayne, but I’m not far off.

“I have to say I got off pretty lightly considering what could have gone wrong. I feel really lucky. There is a bit of soreness but not too much.”

Sinfield was given some time off by Leicester this week as the club have no fixture but he has been working from home, planning for the next game, and addressed a business meeting in Manchester on Wednesday alongside author and broadcaster Alastair Campbell who also ran two of the 24 legs with him.

The total from his 101-mile run has topped £1.7m, with another £500,000 pledged from other sources, which has shocked Sinfield.

Kevin Sinfield takes a breather during the Extra Mile Challenge from Leicester to Leeds (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“I’m just massively overwhelmed,” he said. “We thought £100,000 was a really good amount of money to start with and we were hoping to raise another £100,000 in sponsorship which we achieved.

“We actually thought, if it got to a point where we could generate £200,000, we would have been made up with that.

“We didn’t think any chance of getting anywhere near close to the amount that we raised last year.

“We understand there are so many worthy causes out there and, if you look at society and how difficult it has been for everyone over the last 18 months to two years with Covid and gas and electric prices going up and petrol going up, we have been absolutely blown away again.”

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