Dad's cancer fight and Rob Burrow's MND battle inspire Leeds man's fundraising challenge

A Leeds Rhinos fan is set to tackle a tough fundraising challenge to raise cash for two charities close to his heart.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 23rd October 2020, 5:42 pm

Adam Smith's 70-year-old father Dave was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in October 2019 and is continuing to fight the disease.

Adam, 25, of Whinmoor, said he and his father watched Leeds Rhinos at Headingley together and were devastated when former player Rob Burrow, 38, was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in December.

Adam, a former Boston Spa High School student, said his favourite teacher Joanne Cooper is also fighting MND.

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Adam Smith pictured with his father Dave.

He is set to tackle a 27.5km duathlon from Featherstone Lions rugby club to Headingley stadium on December 12 to raise cash for Prostate Cancer UK and MND Association.

He will cycle 17km followed by a 10.5km run.

Adam said his father Dave, a retired factory worker at Unilever in Leeds, had started regular chemotherapy treatment at St James's Hospital in January.

But the chemotherapy treatment was later cancelled due to coronavirus.

Rob Burrow pictured at the testimonial match for Jamie Jones-Buchanan in January 2020. Photo: Steve Riding

Father-of-four Dave Smith, who is also a grandfather, has just completed 37 sessions of radiotherapy treatment and he and his family are anxiously awaiting results.

Adam said: "My aim is to raise much needed funds for Prostate Cancer UK and MND Association, as they are particularly close to my heart.

"Last year my dad was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Along with this, the tragic news of Rob Burrow being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease has hit myself and my family hard.

"Growing up Rob was a hero of mine and still is. Another person close to me who is battling MND is one of my favourite teachers from high school, Joanne Cooper.

Adam Smith in training for his duathlon

"Joanne continues to inspire people and is doing all she can’t to help the cause by cycling as many miles as she can from home.

"The impact of Covid-19 has been devastating and is understandably at the forefront of peoples minds at the moment.

"However I thought it was important to do something to raise money and awareness towards other illnesses that are sadly also being hugely impacted.

Adam added: "We’ll never know what effect the chemotherapy could have had on my dads prognosis as he was sadly denied this due to the pandemic.

Adam Smith in training for his fundraising duathlo.

"Getting a cancer diagnosis is devastating. It’s terrifying to think of the amount of people that may be ignoring symptoms or missing appointments due to fear of burdening the NHS at a time like this.

"I urge anyone with any concerns to seek advice as soon as you can. Delays mean that peoples lives are being cut short. It’s so important to push for what you need."

Donations can be made to Adam's JustGiving page via the following link: https://www.justgiving.com/team/fev2headingley

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