Kevin Sinfield: Leeds Rhinos legend insists MND challenges won't stop until a cure is found

Even after raising close £5m to fight motor neurone disease (mnd), Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield says he won’t stop until a cure is found.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 8:27 pm

Including offline donations, more than £2m has been pledged following Sinfield’s epic extra-mile challenge this week, which saw him run 101 miles from Leicester to Leeds in 24 hours.

Last year £2.7m was donated after Sinfield, 41, ran seven marathons in seven days, inspired by his former teammate Rob Burrow who was diagnosed with the illness in December, 2019.

Proceeds from Sinfield’s latest challenge will be split between the Leeds Hospitals Charity appeal to build a Rob Burrow Centre for motor neurone disease in the city and the MND Association.

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Kevin Sinfield crosses the extra mile challenge finish line at Headingley, alongside Rob Burrow's daughter Macy. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Burrow’s father Geoff said this week Sinfield has “done enough” and urged him not to put his health at risk with more and tougher feats.

But the former Leeds captain insisted the job is far from complete and confirmed he is already contemplating what might come next.That could be an event or a challenge, but asked if will ever feel he has done enough, Sinfield insisted: “Not until we get a cure.”

Sinfield was too exhausted to speak to the media on Tuesday, but addressed an online press conference this afternoon (Thursday).

“It is something I am passionate about and the whole team is passionate about,” he said of the campaign against the terminal illness which affects around 5,000 people in the UK at any one time.

Kevin Sinfield with Rob Burrow after the extra-mile challenge. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“When you’ve seen it first hand as I have with Rob and then you meet so many brilliant, wonderful families of people [with mnd] it grips and grabs you.

“Geoff has said it to me a number of times ‘you’ve done enough, you don’t need to keep putting your body through it’, but I think sometimes it is the only way to get people to understand and take notice.”

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Sinfield stressed the money collected is only part of the battle.

Kevin Sinfield during his 101-mile run from Leicester to Leeds. Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com.

“One thing I am proud of is over the last two years we’ve been able to raise awareness as well as funds,” he stated.

“We have been able to educate people that this is a terrible disease, but more importantly, the people it affects are able to come out of the house now and not be ashamed because people understand what it is they’ve got and what they are going through.

“I don’t think I will ever stop. As I get older the challenges will have to change, just because my body won’t be able to cope with some of it, but I will continue to do what I can to help and support.

“While Rob is continuing to fight like he has and is doing and while he has been so brave and courageous - and the whole family has - it is only right his former teammates continue to do what they do as well.”

Sinfield said he is “massively overwhelmed” by the national reaction to his latest feat, which had an initial fund-raising target of £100,000.

Now an assistant-coach at Leicester Tigers rugby union club, the ex-Rhinos director of rugby praised fans of both codes and a variety of clubs who turned out to cheer him along.

Looking remarkably chipper just 76 hours after his gruelling slog, Sinfield said: “I feel all right, I am getting better every day.

“My toes have been numb ever since, but thankfully I’ve started to feel them today. My quads have still got a bit to go, but I’ve stopped walking like John Wayne.”

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