KEVIN Sinfield’s epic marathon challenge has put the pride back into Oldham according to local MND volunteers.
And Greg Broadhurst, chair of the Manchester and District Branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, can’t wait to say a personal ‘thank you’ to running man.
The efforts of the one-time Saddleworth School head boy have raised the profile of MND to its highest levels since the worldwide ‘ice bucket challenge’ phenomena of 2014.
“We are all incredibly thankful to Kev,” said Greg whose grandfather died from the disease.
“Once we get back to some sort of normality where we can hold meetings, he has an open invite to come down and see us.
“I would just love him to be in a room with us and for us all to say thank you for everything he has done.
“I ran marathons in the very distant past so I know how hard it is to get under four hours.
“To do seven, sub four-hour marathons on the run – that guy is incredible.”
It is estimated there is a one in 300 risk of getting MND across a lifetime.
It can affect adults of any age but more likely to affect people over 50.
MND affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time.
“I come from a family where my granddad had it years ago,” said Greg. “My gran used to say there is no point ever mentioning it because nobody understands it or no one else seems to have ever had it.
“To most people it is not a commonly known condition like say cancer or diabetes.”
Twelve months ago, Sinfield’s Leeds teammate Rob Burrow was diagnosed with the disease for which there is no cure.
His bravery in sharing his plight has kept MND in the spotlight following other high-profile sporting sufferers including former Scottish rugby union international Doddie Weir, 50, ex Liverpool, Bradford and Bolton footballer Stephen Darby, 32, and 51-year-old ex-Bury FC star, Lenny Johnrose.
Greg became chair of the Manchester and District Branch last year. “I am incredibly proud of the volunteers including the care volunteers who support families and support people with MND.
“Most of them have been through that experience and have got the knowledge what needs to be done, who to contact, how to rattle the right cages.
“They don’t get the biggest profile but they do the most incredible work.
“They do stuff off the radar that probably makes the biggest impact for me as branch chair.
“But there is a whole range of different types of fantastic volunteers. Steph and Nigel are a couple based in Oldham who are two of our brilliant volunteers.
“Steph lost her dad to MND and both of them as Oldhamers are saying how they are so proud of what Kev is doing for us and our town with this challenge.
“It has given them such a huge sense of pride.”
For more information about Motor Neurone Disease, including the local branch and Manchester Care Centre based at Salford Royal Hospital use the following links: