Rob Burrow, a well-known rugby player who used to play for the Leeds Rhinos, has been faced with a difficult situation due to having motor neurone disease (MND). Despite his diagnosis, Burrow is determined and strong-willed. He inspires others with his never-give-up attitude. In this article, we will delve into Burrow’s incredible journey, his impact on and off the rugby field, and the remarkable support he has received.
Rob Burrow, a renowned rugby player from Leeds Rhinos, played 493 times in his 16-year career. He won 8 Super League championships and 2 Challenge Cups, earning 15 caps for England and 5 for Great Britain. Despite being just 165cm tall and weighing only 66kg, he became a star player and was known as “the smallest player in the Super League.” Burrow and his wife Lindsey have three children, two daughters, Macy and Maya and a son, Jackson.
In December 2019, Rob Burrow told people he had a sickness called motor neurone disease (MND). MND is rare and can’t be cured. It affects the brain and nerves. Early symptoms include weak grip, muscle cramps, and slurred speech. While difficult to diagnose in the early stages, there are things that can be done to manage it.
Burrow has since had to use a wheelchair and a machine to speak. He has received support from Kevin Sinfield and has undertaken various challenges for MND charities. Despite the challenges, Burrow remains positive and determined to fight.
Motor neurone disease (MND) affects around 5,000 people in the UK and has several potential symptoms. These problems can affect your muscles, making them weak and stiff. You may also lose muscle mass and have difficulty moving around. Cramps, twitches, and spasms might occur as well. Your speech could be affected, making it harder to communicate with others. You may also experience shortness of breath and changes in saliva production. The disease is caused by a problem with cells called motor neurons in the brain and nerves. While the cells gradually stop working over time, it is uncertain why this happens
Rob Burrow was an icon in the world of rugby, but now he weighs only seven stone and requires constant care. His beloved wife, Lindsey, takes care of him round-the-clock, as he can only eat liquidised food that she spoons and feeds to him. Lindsey said no to carers and help, but she still made a promise to take care of her husband. She wants him to feel cosy and full of love.
The couple, married for 17 years, met when Rob was only 15. Lindsey is committed to providing the care Rob needs, carrying him around the house and doing everything for him. Though Rob can no longer speak, he communicates through eye movements to spell messages on a screen, telling Lindsey “he couldn’t be more proud.”
Lindsey, who works as an NHS physiotherapist, takes on the full-time care of Rob, assisted part of the time by his parents. The couple has been married for 17 years, having first met when Rob was a “shy” 15-year-old.
Lindsey refuses to accept stairlifts and hoists, wanting to keep the care as personal and loving as possible. Rob acknowledges Lindsey’s unwavering support, constantly telling her how grateful he is for everything she does for him. Lindsey’s devotion is truly inspiring, as she continues to care for her husband despite having three children to look after.
Rob’s teammate, Kevin Sinfield, has been honoured for his fundraising efforts, raising awareness for Rob’s illness. Sinfield recently carried Rob over the finish line at the Leeds marathon. Sinfield has collected over 8 million dollars to help organisations that support people with MND. In November, he finished his Ultra 7 in 7 Challenge which involved him running ultra-marathons (really long races) one right after the other for seven days straight and covering 40 miles each day!
Rob spent his entire career at Leeds and played for England and Great Britain. Despite being given only two years to live, Rob’s love for Lindsey and Lindsey’s love for Rob is defying the odds, proving that through love and devotion, anything is possible.
On June 23, 2023, Headingley hosted a special event that stirred the hearts of many. The MND Awareness Match welcomed Rob Burrow, the Leeds Rhinos legend who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease four years ago. The fans stood up and cheered for him and his family to show their appreciation for their amazing courage and determination in the face of difficulty. Macy and Maya, Burrow’s daughters, presented the pre-match show with Cookers and Sky Sports’ Barrie McDermott while Lindsey and Jackson provided extra help.
When the match began, Blake Austin made an inspired performance that reminded fans of the legend Rob Burrow in his prime. The Aussie stand-off zipped around the field, leaving humiliated Huddersfield players in his wake. His dazzling display paid tribute to the Rhinos star, whose fighting spirit and determination have made him an inspiration to all. Burrow and Austin worked together to show the important message of the MND Awareness Match – even in tough times, strength and hope remain strong.
Rob Burrow’s appearance was a reminder of the impact he has had both on and off the field. Fans and ex-rugby teammates showed their strong admiration for Blake Austin. His tribute was a great reminder that everyone can be inspired by different things. Burrow’s legacy will live on through the players he has impacted, who are determined to keep his flame burning. It was a day that everyone involved will remember, a celebration of life and the unbreakable spirit of rugby.
Rob Burrow has been recognized for his exceptional efforts in raising awareness for motor neurone disease (MND). Prime Minister Sunak presented Burrow with the 2000th Points of Light award at a special ceremony held at Downing Street. This award is given to people who volunteer in exceptional ways.
In recognition of his efforts, the government pledged to funnel £50 million toward MND research in 2022.
The former rugby player has been given several awards lately, including the Helen Rollason Award at the 2022 Sports Personality of the Year and a special award from BBC for his voice on important issues. The documentary Rob Burrow: Living with MND premiered on BBC Two and iPlayer in October 2021. It won the Television Documentary of the Year award.
As a result of his efforts, Burrow has become an inspiration to many as he defies the odds and continues to live past his initial two-year life expectancy, even as he adjusts to life during a global pandemic. He utilises innovative eye technology to communicate and was awarded an MBE in 2021 for his tireless advocacy work.
As a light in the darkness, Burrow’s advocacy work has brought hope to many struggling with MND, and his recognition by Sunak is just the latest affirmation of his dedication and selflessness.
In Rob Burrow, we have seen the embodiment of strength, resilience, and determination. Whether on the rugby field or in the face of a life-altering illness, he has never wavered. Burrow’s unwavering spirit has been an inspiration to many, and his advocacy work for MND has brought a sense of hope to those struggling with the disease. The remarkable support he’s received from his loved ones, teammates, and fans alike has made it clear that Burrow is not alone in his fight. While his battle with MND continues, we can all take inspiration from his courage and strength.
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