Leeds Rhinos ace Rob Burrow launches fundraiser for new motor neurone disease centre in Leeds

His battle with motor neurone disease has inspired thousands of people across Yorkshire and beyond.

Former Leeds Rhinos ace Rob Burrow (pictured with his wife Lindsey) has thrown his weight behind a new appeal to build a state-of-the-art centre in Leeds to support others with the life-limiting condition Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe

And now former Leeds Rhinos ace Rob Burrow has thrown his weight behind a new appeal to build a state-of-the-art centre in Leeds to support others with the life-limiting condition.

Leeds Hospital Charity has launched a fundraising appeal for £5m to build the Rob Burrow Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Care Centre.

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Mr Burrow is currently treated for his MND at Seacroft Hospital, alongside around 80 other people who have the disease.

But hospital providers have realised that new facilities are needed to ensure the quality of care for those living with MND, with Mr Burrow setting out a vision that the centre will be a “calming and tranquil sanctuary” for sufferers.

The proposed new centre will see all MND services in Leeds housed under one roof for the first time. Here, patients will have access to a range of holistic support tailored to their needs, from speech and language therapy, to diet and nutrition advice, and physiotherapy.

Patients will see consultants from Neurology, Palliative Care, Respiratory medicine alongside a multidisciplinary team of highly skilled professionals.

Mr Burrow said: “Imprisoned in the brutality of MND, my vision is that people diagnosed with MND hear the news in a calming and tranquil sanctuary. I envisage a beautiful, welcoming building that is user and family friendly. A place where patients feel comfortable to bring family members into a safe and homely environment for them, with signs of hope and optimism.

“For carers of those with MND it is important to know that their loved ones are in the best possible place. Something every MND sufferer and their families deserve. Although the news won’t be any better, it will be easier to come to terms with in a purposely built care centre that meets the needs of every MND patient.”

The Leeds Rhinos Foundation, the charity of Mr Burrow’s former club, has already pledged £50,000 towards the new centre.

The buildings which house the city’s current MND facilities were built in the early 20th century, and their age means staff struggle to fit them with equipment and facilities for those who are physically impaired.

Dr Agam Jung, Consultant Neurologist who leads the MND team at Seacroft Hospital said “We want to provide a safe haven for our patients and their families – a peaceful environment that reiterates to them that they have the best possible care, helping them ‘live in the now’, a serene place that instils hope and courage.”

Mr Burrow was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2019, just two years after his playing career at Leeds Rhinos ended, and recently released his autobiography Too Many Reasons To Live.