The words hero and legend are all too often bandied around with such ease.
It feels all too easy to define an act of kindness as being heroic or legendary.
The term hero is defined in the dictionary as “a person who is admired for their courage or outstanding achievements”.
Yet there is absolutely no better way to describe the incredible feat of strength, courage and determination shown by Leeds Rhinos legends Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield.
Their unwavering friendship should be admired and applauded as they remain steadfast in the face of adversity.
Over the last week ‘Sir Kev’, as he is affectionately known by fans, has taken on a challenge like no other to support his former team mate Rob, who is facing his own battle with cruel Motor Neurone Disease.
For Kevin it has been an emotional rollercoaster to witness the ferocity of the condition that is slowly and mercilessly robbing his former team mate of his independence and ultimately his life.
But in an act of true leadership he is today embarking on his final seven in seven marathon to raise money to support Rob, his family and the MND Association.
Initially aiming to reach his target of £77,777 – a nod to Rob’s treasured number seven shirt – the challenge has captured the hearts of the nation as it is now smashed more than £700,000.
Kevin has braved the elements to start running every morning at 7am for the last week to raise money to support Rob and others who have been impacted by the callousness of MND.
And it’s hard not to feel moved by the respect and love these two heroes have for one another.
Before embarking on the challenge Rob sent this message to his friend: “Kev, from day one, has always been a role model to me and someone who I’ve held in the highest regard.
“As I’ve said many times, I hope you know I’d do the same for you. It means everything to me. A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
Watching that message being played to Sinfield and his reaction to the touching words was enough to move anybody to tears.
And perhaps one of the most touching moments of the challenge was Rob being on the finish line on Saturday to greet the Rhinos’ director of rugby outside Headingley.Speaking after the emotional reunion he said: “When I saw him, I didn’t stop straight away because I would have been a mess. I had to gather myself but for him to be here was really, really special.”
And it is that strength of friendship that should be admired. Over the last year we have borne witness to some remarkable acts of kindness as the country has navigated its way through a crisis like no other. And it is from our friendships and our families where we take strength and courage to continue through the darkest of times.
Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield are true leaders, true heroes and their bravery and friendship will not only inspire but support others impacted by MND.
Echoing Rob’s sentiments: “A friend in need is a friend indeed”.
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