7 December 2020

Heroes

One of the cruellest conditions that any human being can face is Motor Neurone Disease. It's the very opposite of winning millions on The National Lottery. Famously, it blighted the life of genius physicist Stephen Hawking who, by the way, was very familiar with the Van der Graaf generator.

Here in the north of England, rugby league is one of our favourite sports. It's hardly played Down South at all. Traditionally, it has been played by tough working class men from hardworking families. In recent decades one of the elite clubs has been Leeds RLFC and two of that club's finest former players are Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow.

Both played for England and Great Britain and remain the best of friends. Kevin is now forty and Rob is thirty eight. However, twelve months ago it was revealed to the public that Rob was suffering from MND. He is now pretty much wheelchair bound and requires computerised voice simulation assistance to communicate.

Rob Burrow, a burrowing scrum half, always wore the number 7 on his back. Kevin Sinfield was a natural leader and usually played at loose forward. You can perhaps imagine how deeply Rob's worsening condition has affected Kevin Sinfield. What could he do to express his solidarity with and his fraternal love for his old teammate?

He decided to run seven marathons in seven days and as I write this blogpost he is running the seventh  - through the streets of Leeds. He is raising money for the MND Association. His target was £77,777 but it has been hugely surpassed and as I write over one million pounds has been pledged. It's a hell of an achievement by a player who is still known in rugby league circles as "Sir Kev".

I'm sure he wishes that the money would save Rob Burrow's rapidly declining life. It won't do that but it will help to fund further research into an especially cruel disease that quickly reduces sufferers to prisoners trapped in their own increasingly useless bodies. To donate, go here.

22 comments:

  1. We should all make each day count. I realise this now with Tom's condition, but we don't do we because we all think that these things will not happen to us.
    Poor man, so sad.
    Briony
    x

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    1. If you really did make every day count you would probably drop down dead with the effort that that involved!

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  2. It's awful watching someone you love suffer, worse than going through it yourself, especially when there is nothing you can do to stop it. When you are helpless.

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    1. I agree. I think that Kevin Sinfield's marathon project was borne out of such frustration.

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  3. I had a boss who was diagnosed with ALS (which I believe is similar to MND?) while I worked for him. It was a huge shock to all of us. He lived for many years with it -- longer than many people -- and yes, I couldn't agree more than such diseases are horrible and more research is desperately needed.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your old boss Steve. He must have been brave to soldier on.

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  4. A real testimony to friendship, isn't it?

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    1. It certainly is Debby. Kevin Sinfield was certainly not seeking any personal glory.

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  5. Neuromuscular diseases are still not well understood and so much research is needed before there is understanding and then, eventually, hopefully- treatment. What a beautiful thing for Kevin to do.

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    1. It is a courageous and deeply felt act of friendship - helping such a worthy cause.

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  6. It is the kind of thing you don't wish on anyone. Kevin's marathon running is a wonderful expression of their friendship.

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    1. Kevin Sinfield was an admirable man before he took on this challenge. Money pledged is now up to £1,740,000. He may yet make it to £2 million.

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  7. Hi Neil. You might like to look back at the latest comment on your 4th December blog and consider whether it should stay. You can delete this too. Steve

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    1. Thanks for that Steve. I have deleted that annoying spam comment now. I hope that you and David are both well. I haven't had any beer since November 4th!

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  8. His condition is related to head hits when playing rugby? Sir Kev sounds like he is a true and loyal friend.

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    1. No. I do not believe that his condition is blamed in any way upon rugby league.

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    2. Just as an interesting aside, it has been noted that MND disproportionately effects those who have been particularly active or sporty

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    3. Interesting Kylie. I had a relative through marriage who had MND and died from it about 40 years ago when it was little heard about. His family were told it had probably been triggered by sports injuries. He was quite young and otherwise very fit.

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  9. Conditions such as this seem so unfair but then of course all illnesses are unfair and very sad. What a wonderful friend Kevin Sinfield is to raise so much money for research.

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    1. It's a real good news story in the middle of this COVID nightmare.

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  10. Running seven marathons is amazing. Doing it for a friend in need is all the more helpful.

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  11. It is thought that Hawking was misdiagnosed and actually had polio and would explain why he lived so long whereas MND sufferers usually do not live many years with the disease.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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