Kevin Sinfield has completed his latest energy-sapping fundraising challenge to help people living with motor neurone disease.
The 43-year-old former rugby league star crossed the finishing line to a rapturous welcome on The Mall in London on Thursday afternoon after running seven ultra marathons in seven different cities in as many days, once again inspired by former team-mate Rob Burrow’s MND diagnosis.
Shortly afterwards, he told the gathered crowd: “You all know why we’re here. Hopefully we’ve sent the right message out. The MND community is a beautiful community and it needs al of us to keep fighting. The awareness we have generated this week has been enormous again in Rob’s name.
“Fundraising is so important. We tried to push this morning how important the money is because that’s the thing that’s going to shift the dial for us. That’s the thing that’s going to get us a cure.
“It’s also the thing that’s going to make sure families are looked after properly, If there’s one thing you leave today with today from our team, it’s that.”
Sinfield and his team took to the roads once again to raise awareness of MND and funds for five charities supporting people affected by the condition and their families, and also to fund research into effective treatments and ultimately a cure.
Each leg has comprised 27 miles – the conventional marathon distance with an extra mile added to signify how much further people can go to help friends in need – with the aim being to complete it in under four hours.
— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) December 7, 2023
Thursday’s course took the team from Twickenham to Africa Gate on The Mall via Hyde Park, Bond Street, Regent Street, Leicester Square, Tower Bridge, Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square with former England cricketer Stuart Broad and Rugby World Cup winner Will Greenwood among the guests who joined them.
Their target was to raise £777,777 to help around 5,000 people currently living with MND in the United Kingdom, among them Burrow, ex-Gloucester and Leicester forward Ed Slater, former professional footballers Marcus Stewart and Stephen Darby, with the late Doddie Weir, who died at the age of 52 in November last year almost six years after being diagnosed with MND, another inspiration.
As Sinfield untied his shoelaces, the total had passed the £630,000 mark with more than £94,000 pledged in Gift Aid.
The former Leeds Rhinos, England and Great Britain rugby league loose forward, who is currently defence coach for England’s rugby union team, has spearheaded a campaign which has already raised more than £8million.
He and his team set off from Twickenham at 12pm on Thursday having already completed 27-mile routes in Leeds, Cardiff, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Dublin and Brighton.
Speaking before embarking on the final leg of his gruelling challenge, Sinfield told BBC Breakfast: “What’s been really important this week again is the awareness that’s been generated, but as we’ve seen, it’s the money that’s going to make the difference.
“Every spare bit that anybody’s got. if they can donate, it would be much appreciated because these people really need us.
“Yes, we’re alright running, but running doesn’t find a cure, it’s the money that does so if you can donate, please do.”
Proceeds from Sinfield’s latest initiative will go to mainly to the MND Association and Leeds Hospitals Charity appeal to build the Rob Burrow MND centre in the city, but there will also be donations to the My Name’5 Doddie, the Irish MND Association, the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation and support for the 4ED campaign.
:: To donate to Kevin Sinfield’s 7 in 7 in 7 quest, see https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/kevin-sinfield