'I feel great on the inside': Rob Burrow defiant in face of battle with MND

Rob Burrow said his condition had stabilised in the past year. Credit: ITV News

Rob Burrow says he feels "great on the inside" despite his physical condition, as he continues to raise awareness of the impact of motor neurone disease (MND).

The Leeds Rhinos legend was diagnosed with MND in December 2019 and was told he could expect to live for another two years.

But he has defied those predictions, going on to support campaigning that has raised millions of pounds for research into the disease and earning himself an MBE for his services to both rugby league and MND awareness.

Speaking to ITV News, Burrow, 40, said he believes his condition has stabilised. He said he refused to give up hope, despite his physical struggles.

Speaking through a computer, he said: "I do think I have stabilised over the last year at least.

"I know how I feel inside and I don’t feel any worse than I did for the last two years. I feel great on the inside and no doctors know how you feel."

The father-of-three added that anyone else with the diagnosis should "never give up hope" because there is "more research into MND now than there ever has been".

He said: "I don’t believe that MND is incurable, we just need more research and funding into the disease."

MND is a rare condition affecting the brain and nerves for which there is no cure.

Symptoms include muscle weakness, twitches, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. The symptoms get worse over time.

The disease eventually leads to death, but some people live with it for many years.

Plans to build a new MND centre named after Burrow are now underway. The centre, in Leeds, will provide care for patients and a space for them and their families to relax before, during and after treatments.

Burrow said: "I did not set out to have a building named after me but I had such great feedback for sharing my story and opening up about the disease.

"I’ve got something to remember me by long after my time - for my kids to remember me by."

His wife, Lindsey, said she hoped the centre would help people avoid the worst effects of MND.

She told ITV News: "I think the legacy that Rob’s left is just incredible and it will help people not just today but in year’s to come. I hope it will give them hope."

She added: "Rob is such a positive, inspiring person. People say to me 'how do you do it?' but you look at Rob and you just think, if Rob can be positive so can we."

Burrow has undertaken several charity challenges alongside his former teammate Kevin Sinfield.

On Friday, he greeted his friend at Headingley stadium as Sinfield completed the sixth day of a challenge to run seven ultra marathons in seven days.

Burrow told ITV News: "I’m not surprised at the money he has raised because he is a beacon of hope for everyone who has their own problems.

"Once he has made up his mind he will see it through."

Sinfield is due to complete his "7-in-7" challenge during the Rugby League World Cup final at Old Trafford on Saturday, 19 November.

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