Terminally ill rugby player in tears after standing ovation at special game
Fans gave an “unbelievable” show of support to rugby legend Rob Burrow at a sell-out benefit game.
The scrum-half superstar of the Leeds Rhinos was recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, which has no cure.
The rugby league hero has been told he could live up to 10 years and is hoping to become eligible to take part in trials for new treatments.
An appeal to help Rob through treatment has now raised an incredible £232,000 on Virgin Money Giving.
The match against Bradford Bulls – which Leeds won 34-10 – was initially scheduled as a testimonial for Burrow’s former teammate Jamie Jones-Buchanan but after the news of his diagnosis it was made a joint event.
Burrow, 37, who has three young children all under nine, retired from rugby league in 2017.
His final game saw him winning his eighth Super League Grand Final. He is now the club’s Reserve team Head Coach.
At Emerald Headingley, the former England half-back, donned the Leeds shirt for one final match and was overwhelmed by the 20,000 strong crowd.
Before the match, he said: “It will be an absolute honour to take the field one last time with the best of friends and to wear the blue and amber again.”
He told how the reaction to his diagnosis had been “humbling” but doesn’t want people “to feel sorry for me”.
“I’m not going to lie down and just take it,” he said.
“I’m just a normal lad who is totally overawed by all the attention. I can’t describe how it makes me feel.”
Former Leeds Rhinos and England captain Kevin Sinfield, told how his pal was an “inspiration”.
He said: “What Rob’s facing is going to be one hell of a challenge but I think what’s pretty clear is that he’s not going to do it alone, there’s going to be an army of rugby league fans alongside him every step of the way.
“And on behalf of the club, and on behalf of Rob and his family, I can only thank them for that because they’ve made a real difference to him.
“And that isn’t financial – I know the financial response has been unbelievable – but the messages of support he’s had, the messages we’ve all had, from people of all clubs from the game, from administrators, coaches, players, supporters, from people outside the sport as well, it has been just unbelievable.
“I think he’s faced some difficult times before, probably none so difficult as what he’s facing now. But he’s always fronted up. He’s always seen the positive.
“He’s always pulled himself together and dusted himself off and decided: ‘I’m going to make the best of this.’ And it’s been truly inspirational for all of us to see.
“We just didn’t expect this reaction from him, not to be as positive as he is. It’s remarkable.
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