Fundraisers today begin Leeds charity's '7 for 7' run in aid of Leeds Rhinos' Rob Burrow and MND Association

A humanitarian charity in Leeds has joined the bid to raise money for motor neurone disease in support of former Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrow.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 6:00 am

The Akhirah Team, a charity which helps those in need in Leeds and all over the world, have organised a fundraising challenge encouraging people to run seven miles every day for seven days in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

So far 55 people from across Leeds and beyond have pledged to take part, starting today, Monday March 1, with the aim of raising a total of £7,777.77 for the cause.

It is the latest fundraiser inspired by the former Rhinos scrum-half who was diagnosed with MND in December 2019.

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Members of the Akhirah Team, a humanitarian charity in Leeds which has organised a '7 for 7' running challenge for MND and Rob Burrow. From left, Aihtsham Rashid, Kabir Miah, Sgt Mark Rothery and Mo Ali. Picture: James Hardisty

Aihtsham Rashid, CEO of the Akhirah Team, said: “We’d seen a lot of non-ethnic, English runners out there doing it but we thought we are a British Muslim charity and we want to do it.

“We like rugby as well and wanted to be part of it. We’re all Leeds-born and we were all saddened and disheartened by Rob’s diagnosis.”

The fundraiser adds to an impressive CV of achievements for the charity which was only set up in 2018 following the success of Aihtsham’s bid to build the first mosque on Stornoway, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

The charity generates no profit and is run 100 per cent on donations and by a team of nine friends, who take no salary.

Since it was formed, it has specialised in installing water wells in Africa, medical care for widows and the elderly, the care of orphan children around the world, funding education for children and adults to become nurses and delivering food parcels around the world - including 200 to 300 a week in Leeds during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Aihtsham, known as Sham, who is a property developer by profession, said he is proud of his team and what they have achieved so far, as well as the charity’s supporters.

“I’m humbled and surprised at how everybody from all different backgrounds are supporting us. We are actually making a difference and changing lives.”

One of those taking part in the running challenge is friend of the charity Sgt Mark Rothery, of the north east Leeds policing team.

He was approached by Kabir Miah, who is organising the challenge for The Akhirah Team.

Sgt Rothery said: “They told me about the ‘7 for 7’ challenge and asked if I’d do it with them and I couldn’t say no really.

“I’m a big rugby league fan and it’s touched everyone’s hearts. I’ve watched Rob for years. I didn’t know anything about MND [before Rob Burrow’s diagnosis] and it’s an awful disease. I want to raise as much awareness and money as I can.”

He admitted the challenge is taking him out of his comfort zone: “I play football and probably did a bit of short distance sprinting when I was younger at school but I’ve never been a long distance runner. But I’m looking forward to it.

The Akhirah team has harnessed the power of social media and runs regular vlogs every Friday at 6pm on YouTube and frequently posts on Instagram to help drum up donations to fund their work.

Follow them on both by searching ‘The Akhirah Team’.

To sponsor the ‘7 for 7’ fundraiser, visit https://givebrite.com/c/the-akhirah-team/mo-7881 or to get involved phone the charity on 0113 212 9603 or email [email protected].

For more information on the Akhirah Team visit: https://theakhirahteam.org.

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